Teaching of Human Anatomy without using human cadavers: Co-Creation of knowledge of Human Anatomy through Role Play

Malik, Rabia, Robinson, Katie and Clifford, Amanda M. (2011) Teaching of Human Anatomy without using human cadavers: Co-Creation of knowledge of Human Anatomy through Role Play. [Conference Proceedings]


In the traditional Medical and Allied Health science courses in UK and in Ireland students attend human dissection sessions on a regular basis for at least four hours each week through their entire semester to gain knowledge and understanding of Human Anatomy. At the University of Limerick Human Anatomy curriculum is delivered without involving the dissection of cadavers or human prosections. To meet this major but an exciting challenge and to achieve the learning outcomes; Anatomy curriculum was delivered using innovative teaching strategies in 1st and 2nd year human anatomy modules. The objective of this study is to describe the design, usage, and the impact of these teaching strategies on: students' knowledge of anatomy, on student class experiences and on their practical skills. An educational strategy based on role-playing was developed to engage all students. In role playing students (therapists) used each other as live models (patients) to get hands-on experience for identifying, localising and labelling body structures. Student opinions were sought on the appropriateness of these strategies to the subject content and to their future practise. The findings of this study are based on data gathered from 3 undergraduate anatomy modules; and relates to quantitative analysis of student results, content analysis of learner messages to module feedback questionnaires and two recent in-class observation sessions. The new teaching approaches were found to result in a substantial increase in student-student interaction, leading to observable improvements in the achievement of learning outcomes. The findings highlight the pedagogical value of these strategies and also suggest possible ways in which their benefits can be maintained while still meeting the formal assessment requirements of the course. This study highlights that real interactive learning from the start is needed for students, in order to prepare them appropriately for their future clinical interactions.

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