New techniques in imaging and surgery have made 3-dimensional anatomical knowledge an increasingly important goal of medical education. This study compared the efficacy of 2 supplemental, self-study methods for learning shoulder joint anatomy to determine which method provides for greater transfer of learning to the clinical setting.Two groups of medical students studied shoulder joint anatomy using either a second-generation virtual reality surgical simulator or images from a textbook. They were then asked to identify anatomical structures of the shoulder joint as they appeared in a videotape of a live arthroscopic procedure.The mean identification scores, out of a possible score of 7, were 3.1 +/- 1.3 for the simulator group and 2.9 +/- 1.5 for the textbook group (P = 0.70). Student ratings of the 2 methods on a 5-point Likert scale were significantly different. The simulator group rated the simulator more highly as an effective learning tool than the textbook group rated the textbook (means of 3.2 +/- 0.7 and 2.6 +/- 0.5, respectively, P = 0.02). Furthermore, the simulator group indicated that they were more likely to use the simulator as a learning tool if it were available to them than the textbook group was willing to use the textbook (means of 4.0 +/- 1.2 and 3.0 +/- 0.9, respectively, P = 0.02).Our results show that this surgical simulator is at least as effective as textbook images for learning anatomy and could enhance student learning through increased motivation. These findings provide insight into simulator development and strategies for learning anatomy. Possible explanations and future research directions are discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2929.2004.01897.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000223249000017
View details for PubMedID 15271051