5 Ways To Ruin How You Teach Human Anatomy


Effectively teaching complex medicine and human anatomy is key to preparing your medical students, nursing students, and med techs to be good health care professionals who care well for patients.


However, since medical information doubles every few months and since the way we’ve traditionally taught complex medicine hasn’t changed in centuries, we aren’t currently doing our job to prepare students for what they’ll face once they complete their medical education.


If you want to continue this legacy and maintain the status quo, here are 5 ways you should teach anatomy and physiology:

1. Use 2D graphics to illustrate body systems.


Nothing frustrates a student more than when they need to ask themselves, “Why am I learning this?”


For instance, when teaching about the digestive system, if you use a 2D image that shows only a portion of what students need to see, will they truly be able to understand?

How you should teach anatomy instead?

3D models of anatomical structures are a much better way to provide students with the full experience and visually communicate everything they need to know. Students can see structures from every angle, and how they learn will mimic what they see in real life.

2. Limit how students learn about human anatomy.


Books, static images, slide decks, lectures – this is how we’ve taught complex medicine in the past. And while these methods of teaching have churned out plenty of medical professionals, are they truly scalable in the digital age?


The trouble with these methods is that by 2025, we will be face a shortage of doctors while health needs continue to rise. While many factors play into this shortage, without scalable ways to communicate complex medicine, we’ll never be able to prepare healthcare professionals for the task in front of them.

How you should teach anatomy instead?

Use interactive anatomy models to increase learner retention, improve their scores on learning assessments, and provide them the confidence they need to think critically once they start practicing medicine.


3. Don’t make use of storytelling.

Much of health education is communicated through information dump – vast amounts of text, bullet points, and droning lectures. Students struggle to retain this information with no way to create markers in their brain to help them remember.


An example – say you are teaching your 1st year medical students about the circulation system and blood vessels. You list functions, all the key structures they need to know, and maybe throw in a picture or two.


Your students struggle to visualize this and may never actually have a good understanding about this body system until the practice on a cadaver or worse yet, a real life patient.

How you should anatomy instead?

Provide your students with 3D anatomy models that allow them to tour anatomical structures and explore on their own to help them retain what they learned.

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4. Make sure how your students learn isn’t measurable.

Now at first this may sound like it only affects the educator, not the learner. Measurable content lets the professor or content creator know what needs to change to meet the learners’ needs. When you don’t measure the learning experience, you have no insight into what students need, how much they are retaining, and what they are engaging with the most.

How you should teach anatomy instead?

Measure not only the performance of your students on learning assessments but also measure the performance of your content. Key metrics to look for are time spent, what they engaged with, and where they need further reinforcement.

Doctor using a tablet PC.

5. Limit accessibility.

Students are used to carrying everything they need right in their pocket – their communication channels, their entertainment, their shopping. Why do we limit their learning to a classroom, a lab or a textbook?

How you should teach anatomy?

Offer your students anytime, anywhere access to learn about the human body. Embeddable 3D medical content can be accessible from any location on any device. Just because they aren’t in the lab doesn’t mean they can’t interact with a 3D spinal cord.

Teach differently.

Technology enables you to teach complex medicine in new ways. Use it to educate the next generation of doctors, nurses, medical technicians, and healthcare professionals.


Discover how to teach differently.  Book a demo with a BioDigital strategist today.


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