Build a Brainstem

The Build a Brainstem app is an interactive educational tool developed to educate students about the cranial nerve nuclei of the brainstem. Brainstem anatomy is something that students usually find daunting. In fact, students often develop a fear and anxiety surrounding neurology and neuroscience topics such as the cranial nerve nuclei. This fear has been coined neurophobia.

This research aims to investigate the use and effectiveness of an interactive web-based app about the cranial nerve nuclei, including a 3D model of the brainstem. It is hoped that the use of such an app may help combat neurophobia.

User testing for the app was carried out on students and educators in higher education institutes. The use of the app resulted in an increase in knowledge about the subject matter. Additionally, the users provided positive feedback about the usability of the app. However, this study had a small sample size and further research should be carried out on a larger population to fully investigate the trends observed. Overall, this research project illustrates the benefits of an interactive educational tool and provides evidence for the incorporation of more interactive educational methods into curricula.

The Build a Brainstem app was created as part of a research project for the MSc in Medical Visualisation & Human Anatomy of the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) & the University of Glasgow (UofG). The app was built by Sinaoife Andrews, MSc student of GSA & UofG, with supervision & contributions by Dr. Matthieu Poyade of GSA & Professor John Paul Leach of UofG.