Student Perceptions to Teaching Undergraduate Anatomy in Health Sciences

Ryan S Anderton, Li Shan Chiu, Susan Aulfrey


Anatomy and physiology teaching has undergone significant changes to keep up with advances in technology and to cater for a wide array of student specific learning approaches. This paper examines perceptions towards a variety of teaching instruments, techniques, and innovations used in the delivery and teaching of anatomy and physiology for health science students, and asks whether active learning through more progressive methods of teaching is beneficial for students across health science disciplines. In total, 138 health science students consisting of 32 biomedical science students, 52 exercise and sports science students, and 54 health and physical education students completed the retrospective study. Biomedical science students were least receptive to progressive teaching modalities, preferring anatomical dissections to laboratory workbooks (p <0.05) and body painting (p <0.05). In comparison, students from health and sport related degrees responded significantly better to anatomical models and laboratory workbooks than anatomical dissections (p <0.001). While gender differences were subtle, males responded positively to online multiple-choice question resources (p < 0.05) in comparison to females. Following a multimodal delivery of anatomy and physiology, students from all cohorts reported feeling significantly more confident (p < 0.005) when discussing all material in the course. The results obtained demonstrate differences amongst cohorts, which indicate that student perceptions to learning anatomy and physiology are dependent on individual course expectations. Moreover, these results support “hands on” practical teaching, and the use of a variety of teaching tools to foster learning and enjoyment of anatomy and physiology in health sciences.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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