Directed case study method for teaching human anatomy and physiology.

Abstract

A mastery of human anatomy and physiology requires a familiarity with a vast number of details about the human body. A directed method of case analysis is described that helps students deepen and solidify their understanding of anatomical and physiological facts, concepts, and principles. The successful case had four distinctive features as follows: clear learning objectives, a concise and informative scenario, straightforward and didactic questions, and an emphasis on information readily available to the student. A directed case study is presented, and its salient features are described. A procedure for integrating case analyses into an undergraduate anatomy and physiology course is outlined. Student response to this type of case study suggests that this method improves the ease of learning, the depth of learning, and an appreciation of the relevance of and a curiosity about anatomy and physiology. The addition of case analyses to a two-semester integrated course in anatomy and physiology was also associated with an improvement in exam performance. The regular use of directed case analysis is a valuable addition to the traditional methods of lecture, textbook reading, and laboratory for the teaching of human anatomy and physiology.

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