The context of learning anatomy: does it make a difference?

Smith, Claire F, Martinez-Álvarez, Concepción and McHanwell, Stephen (2014) The context of learning anatomy: does it make a difference? Journal of Anatomy, 224 (3). pp. 270-278. ISSN 0021-8782

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This study set out to ascertain whether the context in which anatomy is learnt made a difference to students' perceptions of learning. An Approach to Learning Inventory (ASSIST) and a 31-item Anatomy Learning Experience Questionnaire (ALE) were administered to 224 students (77 dental, 132 medical and 19 speech and language) as a multi-site study. Results revealed that 45% adopted a strategic, 39% a deep and 14% a surface approach. Trends between professions are similar for a deep or strategic approach (both ~ 40%). However, a surface approach differed between professions (7% dentistry, 16% medicine, 26% speech and language science). Dental students responded more to being able to use their knowledge than did other groups (P = 0.0001). Medical students found the dissecting environment an intimidating one and subsequently reported finding online resources helpful (P = 0.015 and P = 0.003, respectively). Speech and language science students reported that they experienced greater difficulties with learning anatomy; they reported finding the amount to learn daunting (P = 0.007), struggled to remember what they did last semester (P = 0.032) and were not confident in their knowledge base (P = 0.0001). All students responded strongly to the statement 'I feel that working with cadaveric material is an important part of becoming a doctor/dentist/health care professional'. A strong response to this statement was associated with students adopting a deep approach (P = 0.0001). This study has elucidated that local curriculum factors are important in creating an enabling learning environment. There are also a number of generic issues that can be identified as being inherent in the learning of anatomy as a discipline and are experienced across courses, different student groups and institutions.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Division of Medical Education
Subjects: R Medicine
Depositing User: Ellen Thomas
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2013 10:32
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 18:02

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