Exploring the use of a Facebook page in anatomy education

Anat Sci Educ. May-Jun 2014;7(3):199-208. doi: 10.1002/ase.1404. Epub 2013 Sep 10.


Facebook is the most popular social media site visited by university students on a daily basis. Consequently, Facebook is the logical place to start with for integrating social media technologies into education. This study explores how a faculty-administered Facebook Page can be used to supplement anatomy education beyond the traditional classroom. Observations were made on students' perceptions and effectiveness of using the Page, potential benefits and challenges of such use, and which Insights metrics best reflect user's engagement. The Human Anatomy Education Page was launched on Facebook and incorporated into anatomy resources for 157 medical students during two academic years. Students' use of Facebook and their perceptions of the Page were surveyed. Facebook's "Insights" tool was also used to evaluate Page performance during a period of 600 days. The majority of in-class students had a Facebook account which they adopted in education. Most students perceived Human Anatomy Education Page as effective in contributing to learning and favored "self-assessment" posts. The majority of students agreed that Facebook could be a suitable learning environment. The "Insights" tool revealed globally distributed fans with considerable Page interactions. The use of a faculty-administered Facebook Page provided a venue to enhance classroom teaching without intruding into students' social life. A wider educational use of Facebook should be adopted not only because students are embracing its use, but for its inherent potentials in boosting learning. The "Insights" metrics analyzed in this study might be helpful when establishing and evaluating the performance of education-oriented Facebook Pages.

Keywords: Facebook; Twitter; YouTube; e-learning; gross anatomy education; innovations in medical education; social media in education; web-based learning.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy / education*
  • Attitude to Computers
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction / methods*
  • Curriculum
  • Diffusion of Innovation
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Social Media*
  • Students, Medical* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching / methods*