European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 21 - Number 4
Eur J Anat, 21 (4): 269-278 (2017)

Learning Clinical Anatomy

Claire F. Smith1, Gabrielle M. Finn2, Scott Border3

1Department of Medical Education, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom, 2Hull York Medical School, University of York, York, United Kingdom, 3Centre for Learning Anatomical Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, United Kingdom

ABSTRACT This article places the students at the center of their own learning experience. It draws together research to enable us to put forward a theoretical framework of best practice for student learning of clinical anatomy in a modern medical curriculum. Anatomical knowledge involves both propositional knowledge and non-technical knowledge. For knowledge to be gained it must be contextualized and the content matter engaged with in a way that creates meaning for the students. From a neuroanatomical basis, this involves memory processing at a synaptic level within the circuitry of the hippocampus. It is important to recognize learners as individuals with their own personality traits and spatial ability. Both of which have been shown to influence the learning of anatomy. Students can vary the way they go about learning: they may uti-lize a surface, deep and/or strategic learning approach. It is quite possible that each student’s approach will differ depending on their personal experience. The approach will also vary at different points of their learning journey, because in higher education students are free to engage in a wide range of learning activities. At some point in the future students may need to relearn or reconfigure their knowledge, because the initial route to understanding is superseded by either a greater need or a more sophisticated line of reasoning: for example, knowledge can be challenged via more com-plex clinical scenarios. Knowledge consolidation is the next stage for students/trainees and this involves embedding the restructured learning and using it in practice. This stage will vary in time depending on the content: it may occur during education or many years later. Anatomy learning is a personalized journey for the individuals. However, it is the role of the educators to aid learners in the development of an education framework that makes their learning effective, meaningful and stimulating.

Keywords: Learning anatomy – Spatial ability – Approaches to learning – Anatomy education – Reflective practice – Assessment

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)