Improved understanding of human anatomy through self-guided radiological anatomy modules

Acad Radiol. 2012 Jul;19(7):902-7. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2012.03.011. Epub 2012 Apr 24.


Rationale and objective: To quantifiably measure the impact of self-instructed radiological anatomy modules on anatomy comprehension, demonstrated by radiology, gross, and written exams.

Materials and methods: Study guides for independent use that emphasized structural relationships were created for use with two online radiology atlases. A guide was created for each module of the first year medical anatomy course and incorporated as an optional course component. A total of 93 of 96 eligible students participated. All exams were normalized to control for variances in exam difficulty and body region tested. An independent t-test was used to compare overall exam scores with respect to guide completion or incompletion. To account for aptitude differences between students, a paired t-test of each student's exam scores with and without completion of the associated guide was performed, thus allowing students to serve as their own controls.

Results: Twenty-one students completed no study guides; 22 completed all six guides; and 50 students completed between one and five guides. Aggregate comparisons of all students' exam scores showed significantly improved mean performance when guides were used (radiology, 57.8% [percentile] vs. 45.1%, P < .001; gross, 56.9% vs. 46.5%, P = .001; written, 57.8% vs. 50.2%, P = .011). Paired comparisons among students who completed between one and five guides demonstrated significantly higher mean practical exam scores when guides were used (radiology, 49.3% [percentile] vs. 36.0%, P = .001; gross, 51.5% vs. 40.4%, P = .005), but not higher written scores.

Conclusions: Radiological anatomy study guides significantly improved anatomy comprehension on radiology, gross, and written exams.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anatomy / education*
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction*
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiology / education*
  • Software
  • Young Adult