Is Student Knowledge of Anatomy Affected by a Problem-Based Learning Approach? A Review

Jonathan M Williams


A fundamental understanding of anatomy is critical for students on many health science courses. It has been suggested that a problem-based approach to learning anatomy may result in deficits in foundation knowledge. The aim of this review is to compare traditional didactic methods with problem-based learning methods for obtaining anatomy knowledge. A Medline search was completed and studies needed to investigate the effects of a problem-based learning method compared with an alternate method with the primary outcome being examination scores to be included. Ten articles matched the inclusion criteria. Most studies investigated undergraduate medical students. Four studies demonstrated improved exam results following a problem-based learning approach and five demonstrated no difference between didactic and problem-based learning. Overall a problem-based approach appears not to offer disadvantages or benefits over a more traditional didactic approach, however it has been suggested that additional skills, such as problem solving may be developed when using this approach.

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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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