Development of a Novel Peer-sharing Application to Supplement Learning from Cadaveric Dissection

Anat Sci Educ. 2020 Nov 2. doi: 10.1002/ase.2032. Online ahead of print.


Gross anatomy dissection in contemporary medical education must balance the traditional value of learning from the cadaver with the possibilities created by the use of digital tools as supplemental resources that personalize and deepen the student learning experience. This study broadly examined the design, implementation, and use of AnatomyShare, a novel iPad application employing learner-generated content that allows students to securely share annotated images of their dissections with each other and take faculty-generated image-based quizzes during their first-year medical school gross anatomy course. Almost all students enrolled in the course used the application (N = 176; 91% use based on analytics). Seventy-five students responded to a survey asking how and when they used the application, along with their perceptions of its usefulness and contribution to learning. More students reported using the application outside of laboratory (97.3%) than during laboratory (85.3%), despite only in-laboratory use being required. Taking quizzes using the "Exam" feature was the highest rated use of AnatomyShare, and students cited that the application exposed them to anatomical variation and motivated them to correctly identify structures during dissection. While steps need to be taken to combat low-quality learner-generated content and to enhance meaningful student interaction and collaboration, AnatomyShare was a feasible and highly rated supplement to dissection that provided valuable assessment opportunities for students. Future research will examine the impact of use on course grades and engagement in gross anatomy dissection.

Keywords: Gross anatomy education; dissection anatomy; e-learning; learner-generated content; medical education; personalized learning; social media; technology-enhanced learning.