Online, Interactive, Digital Visualisation Resources that Enhance Histology Education

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Teaching histology is expensive, particularly in some universities with limited or ageing resources such as microscope equipment and inadequate histological slide collections. Increasing numbers of student enrolments have required duplications of laboratory classes. Such practical classes are staff intensive and so teaching hours are increased. Technology can now solve many of these issues but perhaps, more importantly, can also cater to the self-directed and independent learning needs of today’s learners. This chapter will describe and evaluate distinct innovations available on a global scale, utilising both technology-enhanced and interactive learning strategies to revolutionise histology teaching via successful online delivery of learning resources. Histology students can access these innovations to maximise their learning and enable them to complete all learning outcomes away from the traditional classroom environment (i.e., online). Most appropriately, all of these innovations address and help solve cognitive challenges that students experience in histology learning. Lecture recording platforms with engaging functionalities have enabled students to view lectures online. Using new innovative histology resources has eliminated the need for students to attend practical histology laboratory sessions. Instead, students can now study histology successfully and enjoyably in their own time. Learners can interact with unlimited numbers of high-quality images and click on hyperlinked text to identify key features of histological structures. Students can now use virtual microscopy to view digitised histological sections (virtual microscopy) at increasing levels of magnification. Consequently, there is no requirement for academic staff to be present when directing students through their learning objectives, which therefore eliminates formal, scheduled practical classes. The learning platforms offer a variety of formative assessment formats. On completion of a quiz, instant feedback can be provided for students, which makes histology learning efficient and can significantly improve student performance in examinations. However, there remains the issue that three-dimensional (3D) interpretation from traditional two-dimensional (2D) representations of cell, tissue, and organ structure can be cognitively challenging for many students. The popularity of using animations and 3D reconstructions to help learners understand and remember information has greatly increased since the advent of powerful graphics-oriented computers. This technology allows animations to be produced much more easily and cheaply than in previous years, whilst Cinema 4D technology has enhanced a new paradigm shift in teaching histology. 3D reconstruction and animations can meet the educational need and solve the dilemma.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiomedical Visualisation
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 16 ‒ Digital Visualisation in Biomedical Education
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9783031303791
ISBN (Print)9783031303814, 9783031303784
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


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