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Student and educator perceptions of remote anatomy learning

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Emma Saunders, Kayleigh ScotcherORCiD, Dr Iain KeenanORCiD


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The use of human cadaveric specimens in practical laboratory learning and teaching environments, supplemented by large group present-in-person lectures, have traditionally been the core approaches for the delivery of anatomy. Within the modern pedagogic landscape, the development and introduction of technology-enhanced learning strategies have enhanced the provision of remote anatomy learning resources. More recently, the Covid-19 pandemic has further increased the need for effective online provision. With a view to this, we aimed to investigate stakeholder perceptions of remote anatomy learning, the impact of Covid-19 on the availability and development of asynchronous resources, and the perspectives of participants with respect to the future directions and strategies for remote anatomy learning within post-pandemic curricula. A student-partner strategy enabled undergraduate project students to develop knowledge, skills and abilities during contributions to research design, implementation and data analysis. A mixed-methods approach was conducted within a pragmatic theoretical framework. A questionnaire instrument consisting of a 7-point Likert-type scale and free-text items was administered to a second-year medical cohort (n = 340), who had experienced remote anatomy learning both pre-Covid-19 and during the pandemic. Two focus groups involving medical student (n = 10) and anatomy educator (n = 3) participants, respectively, were conducted virtually via videoconference in February 2021 to explore richer and deeper perceptions of remote anatomy learning. Data were analysed statistically and by double-coded semi-quantitative or qualitative thematic analysis as appropriate. Responding students (n = 145) perceived that the guidance and provision of pre-pandemic and Covid-19-era remote anatomy resources were largely effective for their learning. Focus groups identified improvements in the variety and accessibility of detailed and relevant multimodal content since the pandemic began. From the student perspective, a curriculum of in-person teaching blended with high-quality remote resources would be welcomed in future. Educators noted that rapid responses to Covid-19 had resulted in the creation of more effective remote resources, despite technological challenges and concerns regarding the online delivery of cadaveric teaching. These findings will have implications for the design, development and implementation of remote anatomy learning resources within post-pandemic blended curricula. Institutional ethical approval was obtained for this work.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Almen J, Chaudhry A, Saunders E, Scotcher K, Keenan I

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Anatomical Society Summer Meeting Glasgow 2021: Cutting Edge Anatomy

Year of Conference: 2021

Pages: 779-779

Print publication date: 01/04/2022

Online publication date: 24/11/2021

Acceptance date: 24/11/2021

ISSN: 0021-8782

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/joa.13592

Series Title: Journal of Anatomy