Anatomy Learning in Virtual Reality
The difference in academic achievement and emotional behaviors when learning anatomy in the dissection lab vs in a virtual reality (VR) lab
Anatomy education has experienced profound advancements in the past few decades, namely the continuously expanding technologies and virtual reality educational tools. It is well reported that students value these self-directed learning tools to augment anatomy laboratory learning. These tools yield high effectiveness in circumstances of limited access to anatomy labs and dissected specimens from human body donations. The aim of this project is to evaluate the use and pedagogical efficacy of a 3D interactive virtual reality anatomy app; Vancouver Virtual Reality Anatomy and Pathology Project (VanVR APP), that was created in the UBC HIVE in response to the global Covid19 pandemic. In this project, we will study the difference in participants’ learning and interaction with anatomical dissections in the virtual environment compared to the physical dissection lab. All students will perform a mental rotation test to assess their 3D visualization skills, and we will use a knowledge test to assess their total learning and 3D understanding of anatomy. Finally, this project will provide valuable information regarding students’ attitudes and emotions about these different learning environments and how this impacts their learning.
The aim of this project is to evaluate the use and pedagogical efficacy of a high-quality 3D interactive virtual reality anatomy app. VanVR APP was created in the UBC HIVE in response to the global Covid19 pandemic and is now a digital twin of the physical anatomy lab. The goal of a virtual learning experience is not to replace the dissection experience in anatomy labs, but to provide an alternative educational tool to students who have limited access to an anatomy lab or as a tool to supplement their dissection experience. The research question here is how students learn and interact with anatomical dissections in the virtual environment compared to the dissection lab. We expect the impact of the virtual lab to be different for student learning and we observed that students interacted quite differently with the virtual specimens when compared to some rare in-person lab experiences during the pandemic (Ho et al., 2021).
- Assess the efficacy of the VanVR APP in learning the 3D relationships in the human body in a VR environment compared to a webVR environment, compared to the experience in the anatomy lab. The focus will be on the learning approaches the students take and how they interact with the anatomy.
- A thematic analysis of the attitudes and emotions that students have when studying anatomy in either the virtual environments or the physical anatomy lab.
Claudia Krebs, PhD