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Adv Physiol Educ. 2014 Mar;38(1):80-6. doi: 10.1152/advan.00154.2012.

Are all hands-on activities equally effective? Effect of using plastic models, organ dissections, and virtual dissections on student learning and perceptions.

Author information

1
Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland;

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of three commonly used cardiovascular model-assisted activities on student learning and student attitudes and perspectives about science. College students enrolled in a Human Anatomy and Physiology course were randomly assigned to one of three experimental groups (organ dissections, virtual dissections, or plastic models). Each group received a 15-min lecture followed by a 45-min activity with one of the treatments. Immediately after the lesson and then 2 mo later, students were tested on anatomy and physiology knowledge and completed an attitude survey. Students who used plastic models achieved significantly higher overall scores on both the initial and followup exams than students who performed organ or virtual dissections. On the initial exam, students in the plastic model and organ dissection treatments scored higher on anatomy questions than students who performed virtual dissections. Students in the plastic model group scored higher than students who performed organ dissections on physiology questions. On the followup exam, when asked anatomy questions, students in the plastic model group scored higher than dissection students and virtual dissection students. On attitude surveys, organ dissections had higher perceived value and were requested for inclusion in curricula twice as often as any other activity. Students who performed organ dissections were more likely than the other treatment groups to agree with the statement that "science is fun," suggesting that organ dissections may promote positive attitudes toward science. The findings of this study provide evidence for the importance of multiple types of hands-on activities in anatomy laboratory courses.

KEYWORDS:

anatomy and physiology; higher education; model-assisted activities; science perceptions; structure visualization

PMID:
24585474
DOI:
10.1152/advan.00154.2012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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