Department of Midwifery, Community and Public Health

Think Baby Into the Future

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Think Baby

Jane Appleton talks us through the Think Baby e-learning tool, which has recently been rolled out to health students across the UK.

In 2012, I received an HEA Teaching Development grant to help develop something called Think Baby. The idea was to create an e-learning resource that would help trainee health visitors develop their skills assessing interactions between mothers and babies.

“It will help healthcare professionals identify potential problems with interactions quickly and if a care giver is struggling, they can get the support they need sooner.

Midwifery student

To bring this project to life, I knew I’d need help. In the end, the team included psychologists Professor Margaret Harris and Cat Kelly, as well as Digital Media and E-learning Developer Irmgard Huppe. The idea was based on the findings of a research study funded by the Burdett Trust. This study found that health visitors were more likely to comment on the mother’s behaviour in a video clip than the behaviour of the baby.  Thus our idea and simple message to get student health visitors to ‘Think Baby’ was born!

Since the early pilot phase, Think Baby has been offered to trainee health visitor students throughout the UK.  During the national rollout to students external to Brookes, a number of issues came to light concerning registration on the Brookes Virtual Learning site and timeliness of access to the learning materials. The team have worked closely with central Brookes IT Services and Moodle support teams to streamline the process. In addition, Irmgard, Suzanne Watts and myself have conducted feasibility work around Think Baby. We worked with student midwives and student social workers with a view to embedding similar training within their programmes.  The initial analysis revealed overwhelmingly that both midwifery and social work students thought that there was lots of potential to use Think Baby in these professional groups.

“…explained key themes and ways of observinginteractions which is relevant and something I can take into practice”
Midwifery student

“I learnt not to assume or to judge. Visittimes are limited hence all practice should be evidenced based so as to avoidjudgements and or assumptions”.
Social work student

Our feasibility work shows the rich potential to develop Think Baby further. And we plan to offer similar training materials to student midwives and child care social workers, who also work closely with parents and their babies.  The team would like to thank Oxford Brookes University, the Brookes’ midwifery and social work teams, Health Education London (NCEL), Health Education Thames Valley (NHS England) and the HEA for their support with this work.