Development of a web-based 3D module for enhanced neuroanatomy education
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics
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Neuroanatomy is a challenging subject, with novice medical students often experiencing difficulty grasping the intricate 3D spatial relationships. Most of the anatomical teaching in undergraduate medicine utilizes conventional 2D resources. E-learning technologies facilitate the development of learner-centered educational tools that can be tailored to meet each student's educational needs, and may foster improved learning in neuroanatomy, however this has yet to be examined fully in the literature. An interactive 3D e-learning module was developed to complement gross anatomy laboratory instruction. Incorporating such 3D modules may provide additional support for students in areas of anatomy that are spatially challenging, such as neuroanatomy. Specific anatomical structures and their relative spatial positions to other structures can be clearly defined in the 3D virtual environment from viewpoints that may not readily be available using cadaveric or 2D image modalities. Providing an interactive user interface for the 3D module in which the student controls many factors may enable the student to develop an improved understanding of the spatial relationships. This work outlines the process for the development of a 3D interactive module of the cerebral structures included in the anatomy curriculum for undergraduate medical students in their second year of study.