Why You Need Measurable Health Content


Teaching complex medicine, science, and human anatomy has traditionally been passive. Students read, listen, and absorb information in the classroom and from textbooks. While they could take their knowledge to the lab and practice what they learned, application is one step removed from the learning environment where they got the bulk of their education.

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The problem with passive learning

This kind of learning, passive learning, is hard to measure. You can assess students at the end of a module on an exam; however, that type of assessment only tests their performance, not the performance of the educational content.


Even more concerning – with passive learning, students can pass a test without truly understanding the material. To truly assess how confident the next generation of healthcare professionals is when it comes to complex medicine, we need to know if they are not only learning but also understanding health information.

Meaningful learning is practical knowledge

In short, we need to be able to measure meaningful learning, learning that “involves the acquisition of knowledge in a way that allows you to do something with it. It results in knowledge that is stored in a way that allows it to be accessed from many different starting points.”


In other words, students should learn about health topics through active learning strategies so they can make use of their knowledge in practical, real-life ways.


An example of meaningful learning comes from a study published in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.


A group of 35 medical students learning cleft repair were split into 2 randomized groups. 18 used 3D anatomy software while 17 learned from a textbook.


Before and after 20 minutes of studying their respective resource, each student outlined markings for a standard cleft lip repair. The students who used the 3D software outperformed learners using a textbook by 43%.


The takeaway? Students using 3D software engaged with a cleft lip anatomy model and acquired knowledge in a way that allowed them to more easily apply the information in a practical way.

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Removing barriers between active and passive learning

Technology has made it possible to remove the barrier between active and passive learning. An interactive human anatomy model, for instance, enables medical students to continue to absorb information passively but also to learn actively at the same time by engaging with body systems and anatomical structures in 3D.


This type of learning is measurable, providing health content creators, professors, and health professionals with insights into what helps students achieve the best outcomes.

What is measurable health content?

Measurable health content allows you to gather data from how and what your students are learning so you can teach them more effectively. Traditionally, health educators use tests to measure knowledge retention. However, a test comes too late, after learning has been completed.


Of course, educators can always go back and re-teach a complex concept that baffled students on the test, but what if you could measure the effectiveness of the content before the test?

Why measuring matters

Understand if your strategies are effective.

Educators and content creators traditionally have few ways to measure if how they are teaching is working. Even a test measuring learner confidence and retention at the end of the module doesn’t show exactly where the educational content went wrong – was it the lecture, the textbook, or the projects? Measurable health content helps you find what’s working and what’s not so you can adapt and pivot to more effective tactics for your students.

Discover what needs to be reinforced

Again, medical professors and educational content creators can’t see where students are struggling until after the learning assessment. Harnessing data from how long and what learners are engaging with can help you know where they need extra help before they take the test.

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What to measure

Here are four data points you should measure:

1. Time: how long are learners engaged?


Your 3D medical software should show you length of student engagement. Too much time with a particular concept can reveal a topic they need reinforced. Little to no time spent in the material is a warning sign that your learners aren’t quite as engaged as you may have thought and you may need to adjust the content or find new strategies to help them re-engage.

2. Topics: what are learners engaged with?

It’s not just how much time learners spend that’s important, but what they’re spending their time with. An interactive anatomy platform can help educators see exactly what anatomical models their learners are studying and engaging with.

3. Extent: How deeply do learners engage with the material?

3D anatomy content will also show you how deeply learners explore a concept. You can see where they click and what views they interact with to understand the extent they engage with a complex medical concept.

4. Assessment: How much did learners actually learn?

And finally, the most obvious thing to measure is how much learners actually learned. Traditionally this has happened with exams and quizzes. Measurable health content, however, allows you to assess knowledge retention as they learn as well as days and weeks after the learner reaches a learning objective.

Make measurable content part of your medical education.

Start incorporating measurable content into how you teach medicine. An interactive 3D platform helps you create content that not only engages your learners but also gives you insight into what and how they learn.


Want to learn more about BioDigital’s insights from a representative? Book a demo today.

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