Donovan Jones

Donovan Jones

Explorer of VR + midwifery

Tell us who you are?

My name is Donovan Jones and I have been teaching at the University of Newcastle for the past eight years into the Bachelor of Midwifery, I am a registered nurse and midwife, I have a masters in midwifery and have just submitted my PhD. My post-doctoral research and interests are in pushing the boundaries of transformative technologies using augmented and virtual realities, the entrepreneurial landscape in getting deep tech out of universities and into the hands of the end users that can be fast tracked for commercialisation. I am also a member of the international network of SMARTlab Inclusive Design.


Describe the work that you do.

I teach into the Bachelor of Midwifery as a lecturer, however my research interests are in the use of transformative inclusive technologies to better engage students, learners and health clinicians in new ways of learning and understanding subject matter.


What inspired you to do this work?

I have always been interested in exploring new technologies that push the boundaries of how we engage in the world and learn new things that move beyond just the class room setting and online delivery.


How does this work help you explore NEW solutions to problems?

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are rapidly becoming established as a valuable method of teaching clinical skills and theory to health professionals in a safe environment to improve confidence, retention and competence. VR/AR is an innovative, transformative and largely unexplored area in health education, accreditation and training. Whilst traditional education and training requires costly hi fidelity equipment, class rooms, lecturers etc VR affords substantial lower costs, easy deployment and can be used anywhere the user has access to a smart phone and/or VR Glasses.

It is well known that there are four main learning types for adult learners: visual, auditory, read-write, and kinaesthetic. Learning environments are most effective when a combination of teaching styles are used to educate health professionals on important content and emergency clinical skills, thus enhancing learning health professionals regardless of their learning style preference. VR/AR addresses all of these.

The 3D visualisation/simulation that can be offered via programs such as Neonatal VR and Road to Birth assist in: improving knowledge, confidence and understanding of neonatal resuscitation, anatomy and physiology of pregnancy; and also providing benefits in learning (anywhere, anytime) that are completely immersive, cost effective, repeatable and consistent.


What’s your dream for this work?

To continue to build projects that are inclusive, pushing the boundaries of how we learn through the use of transformative technologies such as AR/VR with the potential to find pathways for these technologies to be commercialised.


How do you imagine that this work will change the world?

Together, we at the UON are pushing the boundaries to build NEW transformative teaching tools, games, and software applications, that demonstrate our commitment to innovation through the sharing of intellectual, creative and innovative discoveries. Achieved by using the latest in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality hardware, software and training materials, we can change the way health students and clinicians learn, train and for better outs in health.

What would your advice be to students to inspire them to bring the spirit of enterprise and innovation into their studies and lives.

The entrepreneurial/innovation skill set is an invaluable one that allows students inside and outside the university to act as catalysts for progress. Students need to build a skill set based on teamwork, creativity and the creation of financial stability. However, this skill set cannot be learned in one go. The entrepreneurial/innovation skill set is best learned through experience from their undergraduate degrees through to higher degree studies. This is why students should advocate not for more entrepreneurship classes, but rather for the devotion of more resources.