Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Anatomy and Cell Biology


de Ribaupierre, Sandrine


An interactive 3D e-learning module was developed to complement neuroanatomy instruction in both an undergraduate medicine neuroanatomy laboratory course, and an undergraduate systemic human anatomy course. The 3D e-learning resource provided students the opportunity to manipulate a dynamic 3D model to view structures from any desired angle, view deep cortical structures at high magnification, and add interactive structural labels. The study utilized a cross-over design, to separate participants into two groups. Each group completed baseline anatomy knowledge and spatial ability knowledge assessments, followed by access to either the 3D e-learning module or conventional learning resources. Participants completed a post-module anatomy knowledge assessment prior to accessing to the other learning modality. A final post-module knowledge assessment was administered following student exposure to the second learning modality.

Students who initially accessed the 3D module scored significantly higher on the post-module knowledge assessment than the students who initially accessed the conventional anatomy resources. Participants who accessed the 3D learning resources following gross anatomy resources, significantly improved on the final post-module knowledge assessment. A negative correlation was observed between spatial ability and change in assessment score following access to the 3D module suggesting that students with low spatial ability experienced a greater positive effect on their learning of neuroanatomy following the use of the 3D learning module than students with higher spatial ability.

A novel virtual syncretion assessment was also developed that assessed participants’ ability to place neuroanatomical structures in a partial 3D neuroanatomical model, rather than a conventional nominal response. Participants who initially utilized the 3D e-learning resource performed significantly better on the virtual syncretion assessment than participants who initially utilized the 2D e-learning resource. Participants who accessed the 3D e-learning resource subsequent to the 2D e-learning resource significantly improved their performance on the final virtual syncretion assessment. Results of this study could be used to inform the effective development and implementation of 3D e-learning resources to improve neuroanatomy instruction, particularly for students with low spatial ability.

Included in

Anatomy Commons