Using digital branching scenario technology in midwifery education
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Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom
Publication date: 2023-10-24
Corresponding author
Emilie Edwards   

Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Middlesex University, London, United Kingdom
Eur J Midwifery 2023;7(Supplement 1):A186
The face of midwifery education is rapidly evolving; innovative and exciting technologies are becoming a core aspect of training. This reflects societal changes and reliance on technology and ensures our curriculums follows the same trajectory. Branching scenarios have regularly been used in gaming technology and can be applied to bridge the theory-practice gap. This technology allows midwifery students to approach clinical decision-making in a safe and non-judgmental environment. The aim of this game was to place the learner at the centre of a realistic scenario and give them the opportunity to navigate the complexities of communication in clinical practice in a theoretical environment.

After student consultation, scenarios were chosen that enabled them to approach challenging communication situations, such as deescalating a conflictual situation or language barriers. Scripts were written in collaboration with the Arts and Creative department. Scenarios were filmed and incorporated into branching scenario technology that fully was fully integrated to the virtual learning environment. This game was incorporated into the midwifery curriculum and after ethical approval, was tested with midwifery students across the UK. Qualitative feedback showed that students found the game engaging, realistic and that they wished to see more scenarios and continue to learn in an interactive environment. There is a considerable body of research that shows that effective feedback leads to effective learning.

Implications for education:
Digital technology can appear dehumanised, but the inclusion of realistic scenarios and environments centres the learner within a virtual environment. Branching scenarios present an opportunity for feedback as the learner makes decisions and gains precise, concise, and contextualised feedback without direct educator involvement. This project demonstrates the capacity to implement technology-based learning in the midwifery curriculum in an engaging and interactive way and makes learning enjoyable. Exposing students to realistic scenarios also enables educators to demonstrate positive role modelling in terms of communication, which can be difficult to guarantee in practice. Students will naturally assimilate behaviour they witness and demonstrating good practice improves patient care and experience. Watching a role model will increase student motivation and lessen student anxiety.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
Middlesex Enhancing Education Award.
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