26 July 2018
A real birth suite may seem the best place to learn about what happens to the placenta after childbirth, but simulation technology may be the next best thing.
The University of the Sunshine Coast’s newest midwifery teaching tool immerses students in a virtual birthing suite featuring a graphic representation of the phenomenon that happens after the birth of a baby.
Bachelor of Midwifery Program Coordinator Dr Michelle Gray said the 3D visual learning experience was a complementary learning tool to traditional forms of learning and teaching.
“At a live birth, students cannot see inside the human body and so cannot appreciate the complex simultaneous events that occur at the time of the separation of the placenta and membranes from the mother,” she said.
“With this visual immersion tool, students can see the separation of the placenta and membranes, the contractions of muscles and the blood capillaries to prevent haemorrhage, and see how the uterus contracts back into the pelvis.”
Nursing and Midwifery Program Coordinator Terri Downer said feedback from the students had been positive.
“Students have reported that the 3D simulation enhances the lecture, clinical workshop and makes clear the readings from their textbooks, which often did not provide detailed illustrations,” she said.
Student, Sali Sheppard, agreed.
“It was helpful to watch the physiology moving and happening in front of me rather than reading about it and trying to imagine,” Sali said.
USC Manager of Visualisation Facilities Mark Barry said the placenta delivery simulation was developed by USC’s own creative developers – led by Simon Osborn - working alongside academics for use in the CAVE2™ resource, a 320-degree immersive stereo group virtual reality space at the main campus at Sippy Downs.
“Being able to manipulate, become immersed in, or visualise concepts or scenarios that would otherwise be impossible to experience is a powerful way to learn,” Mr Barry said.