Computer-Based Learning of Neuroanatomy: A Longitudinal Study of Learning, Transfer, and Retention

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A longitudinal experiment was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of new methods for learning neuroanatomy with computer-based instruction. Using a three-dimensional graphical model of the human brain and sections derived from the model, tools for exploring neuroanatomy were developed to encourage adaptive exploration. This is an instructional method that incorporates graphical exploration in the context of repeated testing and feedback. With this approach, 72 participants learned either sectional anatomy alone or whole anatomy followed by sectional anatomy. Sectional anatomy was explored either with perceptually continuous navigation through the sections or with discrete navigation (as in the use of an anatomical atlas). Learning was measured longitudinally to a high performance criterion. Subsequent tests examined transfer of learning to the interpretation of biomedical images and long-term retention. There were several clear results of this study. On initial exposure to neuroanatomy, whole anatomy was learned more efficiently than sectional anatomy. After whole anatomy was mastered, learners demonstrated high levels of transfer of learning to sectional anatomy and from sectional anatomy to the interpretation of complex biomedical images. Learning whole anatomy prior to learning sectional anatomy led to substantially fewer errors overall than learning sectional anatomy alone. Use of continuous or discrete navigation through sectional anatomy made little difference to measured outcomes. Efficient learning, good long-term retention, and successful transfer to the interpretation of biomedical images indicated that computer-based learning using adaptive exploration can be a valuable tool in instruction of neuroanatomy and similar disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-31
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Volume103
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 24 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Cross-Sectional Anatomy
Neuroanatomy
Longitudinal Studies
longitudinal study
Learning
learning
Anatomy
interpretation
instruction
Retention (Psychology)
Transfer (Psychology)
Atlases
brain

Keywords

  • Graphics
  • Instruction
  • Interactive
  • Learning
  • Neuroanatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

Computer-Based Learning of Neuroanatomy : A Longitudinal Study of Learning, Transfer, and Retention. / Chariker, Julia H.; Naaz, Farah; Pani, John R.

In: Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 103, No. 1, 24.02.2011, p. 19-31.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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