Application of flipped classroom pedagogy to the human gross anatomy laboratory: Student preferences and learning outcomes


To improve student preparedness for anatomy laboratory dissection, the dental gross anatomy laboratory was transformed using flipped classroom pedagogy. Instead of spending class time explaining the procedures and anatomical structures for each laboratory, students were provided online materials to prepare for laboratory on their own. Eliminating in-class preparation provided the opportunity to end each period with integrative group activities that connected laboratory and lecture material and explored clinical correlations. Materials provided for prelaboratory preparation included - custom-made, three-dimensional (3D) anatomy videos, abbreviated dissection instructions, key atlas figures, and dissection videos. Data from three years of the course (n = 241 students) allowed for analysis of students' preferences for these materials and detailed tracking of usage of 3D anatomy videos. Students reported spending an average of 27:22 (±17:56) minutes preparing for laboratory, similar to the 30 minutes previously allocated for in-class dissection preparation. The 3D anatomy videos and key atlas figures were rated the most helpful resources. Scores on laboratory examinations were compared for the three years before the curriculum change (2011-2013; n = 242) and three years after (2014-2016; n = 241). There was no change in average grades on the first and second laboratory examinations. However, on the final semi-cumulative laboratory examination, scores were significantly higher in the post-flip classes (P = 0.04). These results demonstrate an effective model for applying flipped classroom pedagogy to the gross anatomy laboratory and illustrate a meaningful role for 3D anatomy visualizations in a dissection-based course.

In Medical Science Education
Nick Borcherding
Nick Borcherding
Assistant Professor

My research includes systems immunology, single-cell sequencing technology, and computational frameworks.