Development of a neuroanatomy teaching aid to reinforce concepts from the classroom

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster


Historically, anatomy has been taught via the more traditional practices of cadaveric dissection and prosections, and more recently by employing modern innovative technologies such as computer based learning packages and medical imaging. Using these recognised teaching methodologies in isolation or as a combination, have permitted institutions to reinforce and relate anatomical concepts and structures observed and learned from the text book, to 3D images and authentic anatomy existing in situ. These recognised teaching practices have a major similarity in that, structures can be easily visualised in anatomy text books or dissection rooms as they generally substantiate viewable features. This can include cells or tissues, which have been histologically prepared, or gross anatomical structures such as organs, muscles, blood vessels and nerves which have been dissected, and which can be clearly observed in cadavers and prosections, or computer generated medical images. However, neuroanatomical structures are not that easily identifiable. Neuroanatomical structures such as the ascending, sensory and descending motor tracts of the central nervous system that are central to the understanding of neuroanatomy and its concepts, cannot be observed, defined or identified as readily. Many of the associated structures that contain the cell bodies that control and integrate signals coming to and from these tracts, are located throughout specific regions of the spinal cord, brainstem and cerebrum, and whilst some of the larger structures are identifiable, many cannot be defined as easily. Therefore, the teaching and learning of neuroanatomy presents a different challenge in that, it is a subject that challenges the traditional learning styles of anatomy students as it deviates from the recognised anatomy teaching methods to which the students have been previously exposed and are somewhat accustomed to.
The study of this subject requires students to leave their more customary ‘anatomy learning comfort zone’ of identifying and recognising anatomical structures, and are challenged and required to think more conceptually about the subject. This is something which their previous anatomy learning experiences have either not required, or has not had sufficient emphasis placed upon it. The development of a creative and innovative learning aid in parallel with traditional teaching practices, allows the introduction of more interactivity into these subjects that are contextually difficult and hard to visualise, aiding student appreciation of the subject and to appeal to a wider range of learning styles of students.
This project aims to develop neuroanatomy specific teaching and learning aids, that will allow students to systematically and interactively follow the neuronal connections within the central nervous system, that control the sensory and motor nervous pathways within the adult human.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 28 Mar 2018
EventCentre for Educational Development Annual Conference: ‌Creativity and Innovation in Teaching - Queen's Univeristy Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Mar 201828 Mar 2018


ConferenceCentre for Educational Development Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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