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Anat Sci Educ. 2018 Sep;11(5):496-509. doi: 10.1002/ase.1766. Epub 2018 Jan 4.

Influence of study approaches and course design on academic success in the undergraduate anatomy laboratory.

Author information

1
Department of Biomedical Sciences, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Abstract

Many pre-health professional programs require completion of an undergraduate anatomy course with a laboratory component, yet grades in these courses are often low. Many students perceive anatomy as a more challenging subject than other coursework, and the resulting anxiety surrounding this perception may be a significant contributor to poor performance. Well-planned and deliberate guidance from instructors, as well as thoughtful course design, may be necessary to assist students in finding the best approach to studying for anatomy. This article assesses which study habits are associated with course success and whether course design influences study habits. Surveys (n = 1,274) were administered to students enrolled in three undergraduate human anatomy laboratory courses with varying levels of cooperative learning and structured guidance. The surveys collected information on potential predictors of performance, including student demographics, educational background, self-assessment ability, and study methods (e.g., flashcards, textbooks, diagrams). Compared to low performers, high performers perceive studying in laboratory, asking the instructor questions, quizzing alone, and quizzing others as more effective for learning. Additionally, students co-enrolled in a flipped, active lecture anatomy course achieve higher grades and find active learning activities (e.g., quizzing alone and in groups) more helpful for their learning in the laboratory. These results strengthen previous research suggesting that student performance is more greatly enhanced by an active classroom environment that practices successful study strategies rather than one that simply encourages students to employ such strategies inside and outside the classroom. Anat Sci Educ 11: 496-509.

KEYWORDS:

active learning; anatomy; cooperative learning; flipped course; gross anatomy education; study habits; undergraduate education

PMID:
29314722
DOI:
10.1002/ase.1766
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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