The School of Medicine at Deakin University has recently launched their cARdiac ECG augmented reality application to help students develop their understanding of the relationship between an ECG trace and the cardiac cycle.
“After downloading the app and marker from the App Store, students are now able to see, and interact with a 3D animated model of the heart that is synchronised with an ECG trace and develop deeper understand of this complex process.” says Colin Warren, senior lecturer with the Deakin Medical School.
“Students have traditionally learnt the ECG from text books that contain different concepts on the anatomy and physiology of the heart. Where we’ve found they struggle, is in connecting their learning from these two dimensional resources, to what is really a three dimensional concept in the real body.”
The app features three modules to; explore, learn and assess (see Figures 1-3). These modules build on each other and present the concepts and content to be learned, as well as the ability to determine how well users have learnt. In the Explore mode, users can view a 3D heart model, the firing of electrical impulses and the blood flow throughout. The Learn module accesses the functions of the heart via an animated 3D model, and has a practical exercise where correct placement of electrodes are positioned on a 3D figure. Students can then undertake the Assessment module and complete a quiz, a task involving labelling parts of the heart, and an ECG electrode lead placement test. Once completed, users submit their quiz answers and receive feedback on how well they did.
“Our first and second year students who have been using the cARdiac ECG app, are reporting that they are gaining far deeper understanding of how to correlate an ECG with what is actually going on in the heart.”
Students have said “My understanding majorly improved – I had felt extremely incompetent before this app – now I feel I know far more and actually understand what I’m looking at in relation to the leads and what they’re assessing on the heart” and “I am very much a visual learner and being able to have learning that corresponds to my needs is amazing. Being able to move the heart and orientate it truly adds the understanding as does the ability to see it all happens at the same time”.
“Because this is a mobile app, we are literally placing the ECG learning resources within the student’s pocket, through their smart phone or tablet, so they can access the material whenever, and wherever they wish,” he said.
“This is particularly valuable for students who are actively engaged in seeing patients. This resource can be used in the hospital ward or general practice clinic, providing mobile, flexible just in time learning.”
Deakin’s Chief Digital Officer, William Confalonieri, said the cARdiac ECG is the first in a suite of projects to provide targeted AR experiences designed to make the way people experience Deakin, richer and more rewarding.
“We see the cARdiac ECG experience as an exemplar for the effective use of AR to enhance teaching and learning capabilities across Deakin in the future,” Mr Confalonieri said.