Modern techniques in teaching anatomy
Teaching anatomy has undergone substantial changes across both long, and short–term timescales. We have seen a substantial increase in adoption of alternative teaching methods in response to the novel coronavirus COVID-19. Many programs that were considering revising their curricula were pushed forward by the pandemic and there is no turning back.
Fortunately, current technologies and web-based platforms, like Kenhub, can be leveraged to improve our teaching in these new models. How can this be done intentionally?
- Universal Design for Learning
- In Summary
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How do I use your images in my materials?
- Can I embed videos in my presentations?
- How do I link to Kenhub resources in my LMS?
- Who writes and reviews the materials on Kenhub?
- Can Kenhub accommodate various forms of color blindness?
- Are Kenhub materials offered in different languages?
- Does Kenhub use English or Latin terminology?
- What resources are free, and what requires a membership?
- How often are materials updated?
Universal Design for Learning
You may have observed there is a great deal of variability between learners in your courses. The principles of universal design can be used to account for and plan to address this variability. Simply put, universal design can be applied to learning as a framework for reducing barriers to learning. Universal design can be used to enhance our learning environment in the following three categories:
- Increase engagement
- Provide more accessible material
- Provide multiple ways to interact
|Increases engagement||It is related to the "WHY" of learning and the affective networks of the brain|
|Providing more accessible material||It is related to the "WHAT" of learning and the recognition networks of the brain|
|Provides multiple ways to interact||It is related to the "HOW" of learning and the strategic networks of the brain|
If our goal is to guide learners in becoming purposeful and motivated, then we must provide multiple means of engagement. In contrast to legacy anatomy course designs, hybrid courses can provide learners with autonomy to move at their own pace through the content. Learners can engage when they are ready to learn, which can vary between individuals. Having access to a learning platform like Kenhub allows learners to access content when they are ready. Learners can move through Kenhub study units (i.e., modules) at their own pace. All the instructor must do is choose which ones to assign.
As a practical example, let’s say you are in charge of anatomy for medical students and want to increase learner engagement with course material in a time efficient way. You have already scheduled a real-time session with the learners to discuss the abdominal wall and you find that the learning objectives of the Kenhub study units align well with your course objectives. You can provide links in your course LMS (learning management system) to all four study units on Kenhub or a smaller selection. Learners can then go through these study units ahead of your real-time session and come prepared to discuss concepts through clinical cases you have prepared. Your learners can also create (and save) a custom quiz based on the topics you want them to learn.
Provide Accessible Material
If our goal is to guide learners in becoming resourceful and knowledgeable, then we must provide multiple means of representation. This means that learners have access to multiple forms of content. These can include lecture videos, readings, articles, podcasts, and interviews. Kenhub can be used as a source of recorded lectures, peer-reviewed articles, and probably most well-known, high-quality atlas images. Technology can also be used to improve accessibility by removing barriers. The videos provided by Kenhub are short in duration, include closed captioning and transcripts, and allow for variable speed of playback.
Here's an example of a video that provides options for closed captions (especially useful for non-native speakers), transcripts, timestamps, and playback speed adjustment:
Here's an example of a high-quality written article that provides key information for each structure and a gallery of high quality atlas images:
In my clinical anatomy course for doctor for physical therapy students, I want them to be able to identify anatomic structures represented in cross-sectional images. This will assist them in being able to interpret clinical imaging of their patients. Kenhub has an extensive collection of high-quality cross-sectional images taken from the Visible Human Project. I have created a structure identification list I give to my students so they know what structures they should be able to identify. They can either view short videos or review the atlas view. Then they can continue building their knowledge through active methods such as Kenhub’s innovative quizzing feature.
Provide Multiple Ways to Interact
If our goal is to guide learners in becoming strategic and goal-directed, then we must provide multiple means of action and expression. A hybrid educational model is ideal because learners can participate in asynchronous and synchronous learning in the same course. This has also been referred to as a “flipped classroom” model. Asynchronous learning is considered “pre-work” that allows learners to engage in the content that meets their learning needs. You have probably laid out your course learning objectives and now learners can self regulate what content they need to review to be able to meet those objectives. Kenhub has an extensive repository of content that can assist your learners in achieving their goals.
Synchronous learning involves active participation by the learners in application of concepts presented in the pre-work materials. I find this stage truly exciting as an anatomy teacher because it provides learners the opportunity to contribute their experiences and understanding to build knowledge (i.e., constructivism).
Some ideas I’ve used in my teaching include clinical scenarios, polling knowledge checks, small group discussions, and guest speakers (clinicians). I have experience using Kenhub images in my polling questions. Kenhub also has an extensive collection of clinical cases that can be assigned for student reading or used as examples for synchronous sessions.
There are many creative methods of teaching anatomy that could be considered. Body painting is a quite popular and effective way of teaching concepts related to the skin (e.g., dermatomes) and surface projections of deeper structures (e.g., abdominal viscera). Images from Kenhub could be provided to your learners as a reference when performing the painting. Clay modeling is a great way to leverage psychomotor actions to develop understanding of 3D relations between structures. Learners, again, will need reference images and Kenhub’s extensive collection would work very well. Drawings are a popular and effective way to summarize complex anatomic concepts. Kenhub provides many examples of simplified nerve drawings that could be used to accompany drawings demonstrated by the instructor.
Chances are your anatomy course has been impacted by the recent pandemic and you have had to “pivot” in response. Now might be the perfect opportunity to reflect on your course design and to enhance it using the framework of universal design for learning. Kenhub has many resources ready to go to help you reach your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I use your images in my materials?
There are many different ways that you can use the anatomical images from Kenhub (in your presentations, handouts, exams etc.). To use the anatomical illustrations and images from Kenhub, you should have an active Premium subscription. Learn more about using the Kenhub illustrations and videos in your class.
Can I embed videos in my presentations?
An active Premium subscription is also required in order to show the Kenhub videos in your presentations/lectures.
How do I link to Kenhub resources in my LMS?
Kenhub has two types of pages: the articles and the study units. You can add links to articles in your LMS, which are open and free for everyone to use. For example, you can link to this article about the abdominal wall. All your students will be able to access and read this article. Besides the articles, you can also link to the study units. Those are modules, with a step-by-step approach where a student can learn a topic. For example, this study unit is about the muscles of the abdominal wall. For those study units, a premium subscription is required by your students to access the learning material. Contact us to learn more about our institutional Premium licenses.
Who writes and reviews the materials on Kenhub?
The authors of the educational material are medical students, junior doctors, or postgrads who are passionate about anatomy, histology and medical education. The manuscripts are then reviewed by a group of experts in the medical education field. Kenhub collaborates with university professors, senior doctors and Ph.D. candidates from around the world who are experts in anatomy, histology and medical education. You can read more about the process and the steps of the content creation here. You can also see our team on this page.
Can Kenhub accommodate various forms of color blindness?
Kenhub supports the three main types of color blindness. The colors of the images are adapted based on the type of color blindness, so every student can understand and perceive the color differences in the anatomical images. In the top-right corner of every page at Kenhub you can click on your name and then “account details”. Then choose “color blindness and you will be able to change the colors, based on your preferences.
Are Kenhub materials offered in different languages?
Kenhub is also available in German, Portuguese and Spanish.
Does Kenhub use English or Latin terminology?
Both and beyond! You can choose the terminology you prefer from the “account details” choose “Term languages”. The whole website (images, quizzes, tables etc) will be adapted to the terminology you choose. By switching the locale to German, Spanish or Portuguese, you even get access to further terminologies.
What resources are free, and what requires a membership?
There are two ways you can use Kenhub. The first possibility is to use Kenhub with a free Basic membership. With this free account, you have access to Kenhub atlas with thousands of illustrations and the entire library with hundreds of articles, as well as to some free video and quiz samples. This membership is completely for free and not limited in time. Therefore, you can then use Kenhub whenever you like to enhance your anatomy knowledge, or to look up information - without any costs and completely ad-free!
The second option is to use Kenhub with a Premium membership. A Premium membership gives you unlimited access to enhanced learning materials on Kenhub. If you're interested, here's more information about our plans. With a Premium membership, you get access to all our full videos, all quizzes and a lot more advanced features like access to the custom quiz and support from our anatomy geeks for content-related questions.
How often are materials updated?
We constantly create new educational material and also improve the existing material. We create new images, articles and videos and we correct or improve the existing ones. Here you can see the material we published or improved recently.