Objective: To compare student performance following a change in laboratory teaching methodology from cadavers to models to virtual dissection table in a musculoskeletal gross anatomy course in a doctor of chiropractic program.
Methods: Three marking periods of laboratory and lecture examination scores from 3 consecutive academic calendar years were evaluated and compared using simple analysis as well as analysis of variance and post hoc t tests. The 1st cohort of students (n = 352) utilized cadavers. The 2nd cohort of students (n = 350) had anatomical models as their primary gross laboratory modality. The 3rd cohort of students (n = 393) utilized virtual dissection tables.
Results: The midterm and final laboratory examination scores were evaluated and showed successive increase in aggregate averages between cohort 1 (mean = 76.1%), cohort 2 (mean = 81.4%), and cohort 3 (mean = 85.1%). Lecture examination scores remained consistent between the cohorts at 61.2%, 62.4%, and 61.1%, respectively. Significant improvements were seen in lab exam scores between cohorts (F [2, 2113] = 58.6, p < .001), and no significant differences were seen in lecture exam scores.
Conclusion: Students utilizing virtual dissection tables scored higher on laboratory examinations than students having models or cadavers. However, they displayed a similar testing competency in lecture examinations, suggesting a possible change in laboratory examination difficulty between the cohorts but a similar knowledge base. Further studies are warranted to evaluate the long-term retention of student knowledge.
Author keywords: Anatomic Models, Anatomy, Cadaver, Chiropractic, Education
Author affiliations: SA, AG, EP: Life University College of Chiropractic, Marietta, Georgia, USA; AG: RH: Life University Dr. Sid Williams Center for Chiropractic Research
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