Sunday, June 19, 2011

Anatomy Education

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion-list post “Anatomy Education” [Hake (2011)].

The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: Robin Hopkins in a POD post “Shift in the teaching of science” wrote: “I'm interested in the shift that is required of traditional anatomists as the medical school moves toward a curriculum that requires anatomy to be taught/learned in ways that are more aligned with the clinical application of anatomy than simply ‘knowing’ anatomy (usually for tests).”

If the tests are of the usual classroom type then they require only the regurgitation of memorized material rather than higher-order learning such as the understanding of scientific concepts. I suspect that higher-order learning is required for the effective clinical application of anatomy.

In my opinion, the major shift is the teaching of science is the shift “From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education” [Barr & Tagg (1995)]. Unknown to most of academia, education researchers have developed “Concept Inventories” that can be used in formative pre/post testing to gauge the impact of courses on students' learning and understanding of scientific concepts.

At least in physics such testing demonstrates that “Traditional” (T) passive-student lecture courses result in course-averaged normalized learning gains g(ave) that are about two-standard deviations below those of “Interactive Engagement” (IE) courses. I give 28 hot-linked references to some of the relevant literature.

To access the complete 22 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

“[Educating Physicians] is a very important book that comes at a critical time in our nation’s history. We will not have enduring health care reform in this country unless we rethink our medical education paradigms. This book is a call to arms for doing just that.”
George E. Thibault, president, Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation

REFERENCES [URL's shortened by and accessed on 19 June 2011.]
Cooke, M., D.M. Irby, & B.C. O'Brien. 2010. Forward by Lee S. Shulman. Educating Physicians: A Call for Reform of Medical School and Residency. Jossey-Bass, publisher's information at information at Note the searchable “Look Inside” feature.

Hake, R.R. 2011. “Anatomy Education,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 19 Jun 2011 14:15:36-0700 to AERA-L and NetGold. The abstract and link to the complete 22 kB post are being transmitted to various discussion lists.

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