As anyone whose surfed the web lately knows, there are increasingly more options for exploring anatomy. Three-dimensional and now augmented reality have become new options for learning.
But do students really learn better?
Research is just starting to answer this question. This study in Anatomy and Cell Biology found that 3D learning “is not very helpful in acquiring deep anatomical knowledge or memorizing the location of anatomical structures” but does have other benefits. A paper in Academic Medicine found that the benefits from 3D computer-based anatomy learning may be “more imagined than real.”
What’s clear—from scores of evidence-based feedback and decades of experience and testimonials—is that there’s nothing more effective (and, some say, enjoyable) than literally getting your hands into it. (We documented the positive results of research related to Anatomy in Clay here.)
There is nothing like using clay to form muscles around model skeletons in a class using the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System class. This kind of experience has proven to be an optimal learning process. Like riding a horse, surfing, changing a flat tire, or kneading bread dough, the feel of and actual feelings of that moment are key.
In an Anatomy in Clay® course, the tactile phenomena seal indelible memories of your own actions, accompanied by the presenter’s knowledge, in your mind for a lifetime. It’s these neurological connections and muscle memories that impact your learning more effectively than any smart phone app or laptop software.
Which is not to say these new options aren’t fun!
First, some news on available 3D animals on your phone:
Google has unleashed Augmented Reality Animals, available for most newer phones. There are bunnies, bulldogs, ball pythons, and bears. There are horses, hedgehogs, wolves, and macaws.
You can “place” these animals anywhere for study. Note that your dog might not be impressed by having a Shetland Pony on the scene. Or a penguin. (Photo of unimpressed dog Monty from Mancos, Colorado.)
Of course, those animals were not in the yard with him, but Google AR makes it look like your dog has an animated animal friend when you take pictures or record video while using the feature.
Entertaining? Yes. Educational? No. But your friends might get a laugh.
Google has also worked with Biodigital to bring elements of the human body into focus. It’s pretty cool stuff and has elements of skeletal, digestive, circulation and other features. But as we mentioned, you might not learn a whole lot.
At Virginia Tech, some classes have used virtual reality systems for learning dog anatomy. Students can wear headsets and see large projections of the dog skeleton and organ placement. VR gives the feeling of being inside the dog’s body, said one student.
Need proof? The more tactile experience awaits. Sign up now for the Canine workshop, a six-day experience that starts in late July in Denver.
Social distancing and all Covid19-related precautions will be taken into consideration. Read more about that workshop—and register—here.