Effective methods of teaching and learning in anatomy as a basic science: A BEME systematic review: BEME guide no. 44

C. Dominique Losco, William D. Grant, Anthony Armson, Amanda J. Meyer, Bruce F. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Anatomy is a subject essential to medical practice, yet time committed to teaching is on the decline, and resources required to teach anatomy is costly, particularly dissection. Advances in technology are a potential solution to the problem, while maintaining the quality of teaching required for eventual clinical application. Aim: To identify methods used to teach anatomy, including those demonstrated to enhance knowledge acquisition and retention. Methods: PubMed, CINAHL, ERIC, Academic OneFile, ProQuest, SAGE journals and Scopus were search from the earliest entry of each database to 31 August 2015. All included articles were assessed for methodological quality and low quality articles were excluded from the study. Studies were evaluated by assessment scores, qualitative outcomes where included as well as a modified Kirkpatrick model. Results: A total of 17,820 articles were initially identified, with 29 included in the review. The review found a wide variety of teaching interventions represented in the range of studies, with CAI/CAL studies predominating in terms of teaching interventions, followed by simulation. In addition to this, CAI/CAL and simulation studies demonstrated better results overall compared to traditional teaching methods and there is evidence to support CAI/CAL as a partial replacement for dissection or a valuable tool in conjunction with dissection. Conclusions: This review provides evidence in support of the use of alternatives to traditional teaching methods in anatomy, in particular, the use of CAI/CAL with a number of high quality, low risk of bias studies supporting this.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-243
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


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