Applied Learning of Anatomy and Physiology: Virtual DissectionTables within Medical and Health Sciences Education

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Satheesha Nambiar Periya, PhD
Christian Moro, PhD


Anatomy and physiology are core subjects in medical and health science programswhich students often find relatively challenging compared to other disciplines. Althoughdissection of cadavers remains the main teaching method utilised to teach human anatomy,a range of interactive multimedia modules and virtual visualization software and deviceshave become available to supplement learning in these areas. Studying anatomy andphysiology via three-dimensional (3D) visual models is becoming increasingly prevalent,as is the quality of instruction available through the use of virtual dissections. Virtualdissection tables are a recent entry to the options that medical and health science programshave when considering learning tools for their students. However, with the range ofnovel tools available, many educators find that choosing which new technologies to adoptin the classroom or teaching laboratories can become overly complicated, with the risk ofsome technologies becoming distracting or not always effective for their students. It isalso difficult to find concise, evidence-based reviews of upcoming technology, makingthe onus on program leads to identify which technology or modern devices may be mostsuitable for learning within their institution, without ever having utilised many of thedevices on offer. As such, this article aims to provide benefits and limitations of virtualdissection tables, outline the recent literature surrounding applications of this technology,and provide insights for institutions seeking to consider virtual dissection tables. Thisarticle focuses on informing educators towards possible use-cases for these devices toassist with considerations of which new technologies to consider for use medical andhealth science programs.


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Periya SN, Moro C. Applied Learning of Anatomy and Physiology: Virtual DissectionTables within Medical and Health Sciences Education. BKK Med J [Internet]. 2019Feb.20 [cited 2020Jul.16];15(1):121. Available from:
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