Learning from graphically integrated 2D and 3D representations improves retention of neuroanatomy
Farah Naaz, University of Louisville, United States
University of Louisville . Awarded
Visualizations in the form of computer-based learning environments are highly encouraged in science education, especially for teaching spatial material. Some spatial material, such as sectional neuroanatomy, is very challenging to learn. It involves learning the two dimensional (2D) representations that are sampled from the three dimensional (3D) object. In this study, a computer-based learning environment was used to explore the hypothesis that learning sectional neuroanatomy from a graphically integrated 2D and 3D representation will lead to better learning outcomes than learning from a sequential presentation. The integrated representation explicitly demonstrates the 2D-3D transformation and should lead to effective learning.
This study was conducted using a computer graphical model of the human brain. There were two learning groups: Whole then Sections, and Integrated 2D3D. Both groups learned whole anatomy (3D neuroanatomy) before learning sectional anatomy (2D neuroanatomy). The Whole then Sections group then learned sectional anatomy using 2D representations only. The Integrated 2D3D group learned sectional anatomy from a graphically integrated 3D and 2D model. A set of tests for generalization of knowledge to interpreting biomedical images was conducted immediately after learning was completed. The order of presentation of the tests of generalization of knowledge was counterbalanced across participants to explore a secondary hypothesis of the study: preparation for future learning. If the computer-based instruction programs used in this study are effective tools for teaching anatomy, the participants should continue learning neuroanatomy with exposure to new representations. A test of long-term retention of sectional anatomy was conducted 4-8 weeks after learning was completed.
The Integrated 2D3D group was better than the Whole then Sections group in retaining knowledge of difficult instances of sectional anatomy after the retention interval. The benefit of learning from an integrated 2D3D representation suggests that there are some spatial transformations which are better retained if they are learned through an explicit demonstration. Participants also showed evidence of continued learning on the tests of generalization with the help of cues and practice, even without feedback. This finding suggests that the computer-based learning programs used in this study were good tools for instruction of neuroanatomy.
Naaz, F. Learning from graphically integrated 2D and 3D representations improves retention of neuroanatomy. Ph.D. thesis, University of Louisville.
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