Video: Thinking of learning 3D anatomy? Think again.
Learning anatomy goes beyond playing with a 3D model. Find out why.
Here at Kenhub, we are often asked, “Why don’t you emphasize the use of 3D anatomy models on your website? They’re so cool and the best way to learn anatomy ever!” Well, I can understand why people... Read more
Here at Kenhub, we are often asked, “Why don’t you emphasize the use of 3D anatomy models on your website? They’re so cool and the best way to learn anatomy ever!” Well, I can understand why people ask that given that we are living in the technology era. There is a natural tendency to want to utilize all the latest technological advances to improve the way we teach and learn. And that’s where 3D anatomy comes in, right? Is it the best method to learn anatomy?
Well, surprisingly, research has shown that in some cases, 3D visualization can hinder effective learning, more than it can assist it. Whilst 3D models can be a highly effective learning tool for some, at Kenhub, we agree with research that concludes that the potential for multiple orientations dynamically displayed within computerized anatomy models may offer minimal advantages to some learners. Not only this, but they may also disadvantage learners with poorer spatial ability. I’m sure that at this point of the video, you are either hyperventilating and thinking that you’ve been lied to all your life, or going to the comment section of this video to tell me that I am crazy.
But before you do all of that, stick with me and let’s go together through some of the reasons for choosing not to use exclusively 3D anatomy, whilst letting you in on some of the highly effective methods we also use.
Now, it might sound a little strange to say that visualization isn’t everything considering the fact that we have a vast atlas of anatomical illustrations available to students on our website, however, what we mean is that although it is true that being able to visualize a complex anatomical structure is very important, the visualization of a structure alone is not the only challenge involved in learning anatomy. In other words, in order for me to learn about this pretty bone, we have to do more than just look at it. There’s a lot of information connected to this bone that is essential to learn in anatomy like landmarks, size, location in the body, what role does it play in your body, and so on. And that leads us to the next point – information overload.
Of course, the human body is rather complex. Every structure has function and most structures relate to the other structures in some way. Whether the information is presented in 2D or 3D form, it often comes with other information that is vital to the learning process. When so much information is given about a single structure all at once leads to what we call then information load. This is something that we avoid at all costs at Kenhub. We do so by breaking down topics into smaller and more manageable ones, and bidding goodbye to any extraneous information. The phrases – one thing at a time and slow and steady wins the race – are the name of our game.
Research carried out into Cognitive Load Theory or (__2:54 CTL___) appears to support our approach. In one such study where the study subjects were asked to describe the flow of the blood around the heart, lungs and body, they found that the subjects achieved better results when they separated texts from diagrams than they did when using integrated information. On one hand, it may seem that having the ability to zoom, rotate and focus on different anatomy structures as you would with a 3D model would bring lots of advantages.
However, some studies have shown that the addition of dynamic stimulation has a negative impact on the learning process. Particularly for students with relatively poor spatial ability. There are great 3D anatomy learning platforms out there, but many of them lacks structure. That’s why at Kenhub, we prefer to use a sequential structured approach. This approach increases focus and reduces information overload which can be beneficial for learning and memorizing anatomy.
Does 3D anatomy software have any redeeming features? We’ve let out our reasons as to why we don’t give preferential treatment or pedestal status to 3D anatomy models here at Kenhub, but that’s not to say that our approach is the most superior method of learning anatomy in every case or for every person. On the contrary, we recognize that 3D visualization can be helpful in understanding more complex structures.
For example, we use 3D models to show the anatomy of muscles and how they work in our body. We connect however text, voice and audio to those animations to provide you with all the guidance that you need. Not just throwing that 3D model at you and expecting you to figure out what is happening. So, 3D models certainly have a place. That being said, if we could have you take just one thing from our video, it would be to just be careful when considering the use of 3D models as your primary source of anatomy learning material. Although we acknowledged that learning is an integrated experience and blended learning might be a good method to achieve your goals. We want students to get a sense of how broad the field of anatomy education is.
We hope we have successfully presented a balanced view of the current available evidence for and against 3D anatomy models. Let us know on the comments below whether 3D anatomy is for you and how would you use it to learn anatomy. We’re confident that you can find a learning technique that’s perfect for your needs at Kenhub. So, visit us now at kenhub.com and find out for yourself.
I will see you on the next video.