Clinical Anatomy, introduced in different medical curricula around the world, is considered of relevance for future physicians, since it allows the integration of anatomical knowledge with clinical activity developed by health professionals. Besides helping to develop the essential “critical anatomical reasoning” identified as crucial to the acquisition of “clinical reasoning”, this area of knowledge contributes to the translation between the basic and the clinical areas in Medical Education.
In 2007 the teacher’s group of Clinical Anatomy of the Faculty of Medicine of Universidade do Porto (FMUP) and the Office of Support for New Technologies in Education engaged in a project of building a virtual tool that could allow the students to practice the identification skills of anatomic structures in the computer. Later, this “Virtual Quizz” was to be integrated in the e-learning management system of the University.
And so, this e-learning tool was available to the students attending Clinical Anatomy (2nd year/2nd semester), during the 2007/08 academic year.
The purpose of the virtual tool is to permit a specific imaging and sectional anatomy training that allows improving both active learning and training for practical assessment of identification of anatomical structures, being this last procedure of great impact to medical students.
Technically, the “Virtual Quiz” is based on an animation built in Adobe Flash 8 that loads, randomly, 40 images of a total of 2500. To each one of these images there is the respective correct answer. The student has a minute to answer each group of 2 images, in the end of which a sonorous sign is heard (similar to what students listen during their “real” practical examination), with automatic advancement of the page for the following group. After viewing and identifying the 40 images the final result is shown, being possible for the student to review the image with the correct answer as well as his/her own response. As this tool is exported to a SCORM package, the final grade is transposed to the Learning Management System, which allows the teachers to have individualized information. The “Virtual Quiz” is a tool that can work dissociated from a LMS and can be used online and offline.
A statistical analysis was performed correlating the use of the “Virtual Quiz” and the performance achieved at the assessment proofs. It was demonstrated that students using the “Virtual Quiz” have significant better performance at the identification of anatomical structures in the “real” situation of examination.
This work demonstrates the adequacy and importance of developing new tools – directed to real situations and within the context of teaching/learning situations - even in a field where a huge offer of materials is available. The “Virtual Quiz” is shown to be an important tool as referred by the students, who consider its value as far active learning is promoted, and feed-back is quickly available. Besides, it is extremely flexible to be used in other learning contexts and also to be offered to Master and PhD programs that include identification of anatomical structures. If we link these important issues to the proved correlation with improvement of academic performance, this makes this tool an important resource in the teaching/learning programs of gross morphology in the Medical Course.
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