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Improvements in anatomy knowledge when utilizing a novel cyclical “Observe-Reflect-Draw-Edit-Repeat” learning process

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Iain KeenanORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Innovative educational strategies can provide variety and enhance student learning while addressing complex logistical and financial issues facing modern anatomy education. Observe-Reflect-Draw-Edit-Repeat (ORDER), a novel cyclical artistic process, has been designed based on cognitivist and constructivist learning theories, and on processes of critical observation, reflection and drawing in anatomy learning. ORDER was initially investigated in the context of a compulsory first year surface anatomy practical (ORDER-SAP) at a United Kingdom medical school in which a cross-over trial with pre-post anatomy knowledge testing was utilized and student perceptions were identified. Despite positive perceptions of ORDER-SAP, medical student (n = 154) pre-post knowledge test scores were significantly greater (P < 0.001) with standard anatomy learning methods (3.26, SD = ±2.25) than with ORDER-SAP (2.17, ±2.30). Based on these findings, ORDER was modified and evaluated in the context of an optional self-directed gross anatomy online interactive tutorial (ORDER-IT) for participating first year medical students (n = 55). Student performance was significantly greater (P < 0.001) with ORDER-IT (2.71 ± 2.17) when compared to a control tutorial (1.31 ± 2.03). Performances of students with visual and artistic preferences when using ORDER were not significantly different (P > 0.05) to those students without these characteristics. These findings will be of value to anatomy instructors seeking to engage students from diverse learning backgrounds in a research-led, innovative, time and cost-effective learning method, in the context of contrasting learning environments. Anat Sci Educ. © 2016 American Association of Anatomists.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Backhouse M, Fitzpatrick M, Hutchinson J, Thandi CS, Keenan ID

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Anatomical Sciences Education

Year: 2017

Volume: 10

Issue: 1

Pages: 7-22

Print publication date: 01/01/2017

Online publication date: 10/05/2016

Acceptance date: 07/04/2016

Date deposited: 16/05/2016

ISSN (print): 1935-9772

ISSN (electronic): 1935-9780

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/ase.1616

PubMed id: 27164484


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