An investigation into medical students' approaches to anatomy learning in a systems-based prosection course

Smith, Claire France and Mathias, Haydn (2007) An investigation into medical students' approaches to anatomy learning in a systems-based prosection course. Clinical Anatomy, 20, (7), 843-848. (doi:10.1002/ca.20530). (PMID:17708560).


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Students' approaches to learning anatomy are driven by many factors and perceptions, e.g., the curriculum, assessment, previous educational experience, and the influence of staff and fellow students. However, there has been remarkably little research into characterizing how students approach their anatomy learning. What is known, based on a sample of 243 students, is that students studying medicine at the University of Southampton adopt primarily a deep approach to learning. Medical students at Southampton learn anatomy in a systems-based curriculum through prosections. Analysis of data from an Approaches to Study Inventory (ASSIST) revealed that students preferred using a deep approach over a strategic or surface approach (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively). They also adopted an increasingly strategic approach as they moved through the medical curriculum. There was a relationship between anatomy examination results and approach to learning. Students who adopted a strategic approach performed better (R = 0.266, P < 0.001). It is argued that curriculum design, including the form of assessment, is the key to promote effective anatomy education and the goal of deep and meaningful learning in preparation for professional practice.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1002/ca.20530
ISSNs: 0897-3806 (print)
1098-2353 (electronic)
Keywords: anatomical education, approaches to learning, assessment, medical curriculum
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Q Science > QM Human anatomy
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Medicine > Medical Education
ePrint ID: 66638
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
October 2007Published
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:52

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