An explorative learning approach to teaching clinical anatomy using student generated content

Christo T. Philip, Kenneth P. Unruh, Nirusha Lachman, Wojciech Pawlina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Translating basic sciences into a clinical framework has been approached through the implementation of various teaching techniques aimed at using a patient case scenario to facilitate learning. These techniques present students with a specific patient case and lead the students to discuss physiological processes through analysis of provided data supported by independent learning and research. However, no literature exists that describes a reverse teaching methodology in which students are given disease diagnosis and then asked to construct a patient case. This article discusses an explorative learning approach introduced in the gross anatomy course in which students were asked to use clinical skills and reasoning to create a patient case. The online knowledge-sharing portal utilizing MediaWiki provided a necessary base for students in completing their task. Teams were given 4 weeks to complete their written online project with weekly feedback provided by 3rd year teaching assistants using the Wiki discussion page. A survey was performed to assess competence regarding a patient write up and oral presentation. Skills that the teams acquired through the completion of this project will benefit future patient interactions. This project also emphasized and reinforced the importance of effective communication, leadership, and teamwork. This study shows that a clinical anatomy project that incorporates explorative learning can be an effective way of introducing students to the skills needed for patient write ups and oral presentations. Furthermore this approach to learning allows students to excel during their clinical years and to correlate anatomy to clinical diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalAnatomical Sciences Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008


  • Anatomical sciences/medical education
  • Clinical anatomy
  • Computer-aided instruction
  • Effectiveness of anatomy education
  • Internet application in anatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Embryology


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