Computer-based learning: Interleaving whole and sectional representation of neuroanatomy

John R. Pani, Julia H. Chariker, Farah Naaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The large volume of material to be learned in biomedical disciplines requires optimizing the efficiency of instruction. In prior work with computer-based instruction of neuroanatomy, it was relatively efficient for learners to master whole anatomy and then transfer to learning sectional anatomy. It may, however, be more efficient to continuously integrate learning of whole and sectional anatomy. A study of computer-based learning of neuroanatomy was conducted to compare a basic transfer paradigm for learning whole and sectional neuroanatomy with a method in which the two forms of representation were interleaved (alternated). For all experimental groups, interactive computer programs supported an approach to instruction called adaptive exploration. Each learning trial consisted of time-limited exploration of neuroanatomy, self-timed testing, and graphical feedback. The primary result of this study was that interleaved learning of whole and sectional neuroanatomy was more efficient than the basic transfer method, without cost to long-term retention or generalization of knowledge to recognizing new images (Visible Human and MRI).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-18
Number of pages8
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D graphics
  • Computer-assisted instruction
  • Computer-based learning
  • Generalization
  • Instruction
  • Interleaving
  • Neuroanatomy education
  • Transfer of learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Embryology


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