Simple innovations in anatomy teaching to promote language and visuospatial learning

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Anatomy requires learning in visuo-spatial and verbal domains. We recognize both types of learning are promoted when students actively interact with each other and with available material in the anatomy laboratory. Aiming to encourage this interaction and improve students'' confidence in foundational knowledge including use of terminology and recognizing orientation of structures, we altered class structure and assessment methods. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Students enrolled in two third year undergraduate anatomy topics were allocated to groups of 4 and undertook a 20-minute, team-based task during each 2-hour practical class. Each 40-question quiz focused on consolidating, testing and providing feedback regarding core anatomy content including visuo-spatial and verbal knowledge, and in total contributed to 20% of students' final grades. RESULTS: Attendance improved from approximately 75% to over 90%. During the task, student interactions with each other and learning materials was high. The proportion of students who failed the topic decreased from 5% to 2%. Student Evaluation of Teaching improved for the domains “The feedback I received helped me learn” from 71% ± 20% agreement to 89% ± 16%. The domain “I had a clear idea what was expected on me” also improved from 92% ± 7% to 96% ± 6% agreement. Total enrolments in the 2 topics for this period increased slightly from a total of 250 to 264 students. CONCLUSION: Simple laboratory tasks that incentivize student interaction using existing materials can promote visuo-spatial and language learning and have a substantial impact on student success and satisfaction in anatomy topics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E3
Number of pages1
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number8
Early online date16 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Medical education
  • anatomy
  • visuo-spatial learning


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