Effects of Four Supplemental Instruction Programs on Students' Learning of Gross Anatomy

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Clinical Anatomy


Many researchers have reported that supplemental instruction programs improve medical students' performance in various basic sciences. This study was conducted to evaluate the summative effects of four supplemental instruction programs (i.e., second-year medical student teaching assistant program; directed study program; weekly instructor laboratory reviews; and a web-based anatomy program) on medical students' gross anatomy laboratory practical performance. First-year medical students from the graduating class of 2006 (n = 223) received the four supplemental instruction programs (Experimental Group). The Control Group consisted of first-year medical students from the graduating class of 2005 (n = 254) who did not receive the four supplemental learning methods. Mann-Whitney rank sum tests were used to compare the two groups' median percentages for the back-upper limb (B-UL) and the lower limb (LL) parts of a gross anatomy laboratory practical. The Experimental Group's median percentages for both the B-UL (77.78%) and LL (83.33%) were significantly greater than that of the Control Group (B-UL = 69.00%; LL = 81.00%; P < 0.05). Results from a post-hoc student survey showed that more students both rated and ranked the weekly instructor laboratory reviews as extremely useful and most beneficial, respectively. A greater number of students rated and ranked the web-based anatomy program as not useful and least beneficial, respectively. The results from this study suggest that the four supplemental instruction programs improved students' learning of gross anatomy as measured by laboratory practical performance. In addition, students most valued the additional time in the gross anatomy laboratory with the instructors.



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