Approaches of Anatomy Teaching for Seriously Resource‑Deprived Countries: A Literature Review

From Education For Health:

Background: Teaching anatomy is an important but expensive part of the medical curriculum, potentially more than many countries can afford. In the search for efficient methods, cost‑effectiveness is of utmost importance for such countries. The aim of this contribution is to provide a review of the literature on anatomy teaching methods, evaluating these for feasibility in resource‑deprived countries. Methods: A literature review was carried out to identify distinct approaches to anatomy teaching published in the period 2000–2014, using the databases of PubMed, Wiley Online Library, Elsevier, HINARI, Springer, and ERIC. The approaches found were compared against their conceptual, operational, technical, and economic feasibility and Mayer's principles of effective instruction. Results: Our search yielded 432 papers that met the inclusion criteria. We identified 14 methods of teaching anatomy. Based on their conceptual feasibility, dissection and technology enhanced learning approaches appeared to have more benefits than others. Dissection has, besides benefits, many specific drawbacks. Lectures and peer teaching showed better technical and economic feasibility. Educational platforms, radiological imaging, and lectures showed the highest operational feasibility. Dissection and surgery were found to be less feasible with regard to operational, technical, and economic characteristics. Discussion: Based on our findings, the most important recommendations for anatomy teaching in seriously resource‑deprived countries include a combination of complementary strategies in 3 different moments, lecturing at the beginning, using virtual learning environment  (for self‑study), and at the end, using demonstration through prosected specimens and radiological imaging. This provides reasonable insights in anatomy through both dead and living human bodies and their virtual representations.

Keywords: Anatomy teaching approaches, anatomy teaching strategies, cost‑effectiveness, resources‑deprived countries

By Ana Yoe‑Cheng Chang Chan, Olle ten Cate, Eugène J. F. M. Custers, Maarten S. van Leeuwen, Ronald L. A. W. Bleys

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