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, 35 (1), 68-75

Learning Outcomes and Student-Perceived Value of Clay Modeling and Cat Dissection in Undergraduate Human Anatomy and Physiology

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Learning Outcomes and Student-Perceived Value of Clay Modeling and Cat Dissection in Undergraduate Human Anatomy and Physiology

Mary Ellen DeHoff et al. Adv Physiol Educ.

Abstract

Alternatives and/or supplements to animal dissection are being explored by educators of human anatomy at different academic levels. Clay modeling is one such alternative that provides a kinesthetic, three-dimensional, constructive, and sensory approach to learning human anatomy. The present study compared two laboratory techniques, clay modeling of human anatomy and dissection of preserved cat specimens, in the instruction of muscles, peripheral nerves, and blood vessels. Specifically, we examined the effect of each technique on student performance on low-order and high-order questions related to each body system as well as the student-perceived value of each technique. Students who modeled anatomic structures in clay scored significantly higher on low-order questions related to peripheral nerves; scores were comparable between groups for high-order questions on peripheral nerves and for questions on muscles and blood vessels. Likert-scale surveys were used to measure student responses to statements about each laboratory technique. A significantly greater percentage of students in the clay modeling group "agreed" or "strongly agreed" with positive statements about their respective technique. These results indicate that clay modeling and cat dissection are equally effective in achieving student learning outcomes for certain systems in undergraduate human anatomy. Furthermore, clay modeling appears to be the preferred technique based on students' subjective perceptions of value to their learning experience.

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