Main Article Content
Histology is an essential field in the education of medical students, and competent knowledge in histology is very important when studying pathology. Current teaching methods for histology in medical schools involve using a conventional light microscope (CM) with or without a virtual microscope (VM). This review aims to present advantages and disadvantages of using CM and VM in terms of teaching and learning histology in the context of undergraduate medical education. One major advantage of the traditional CM histology learning method in laboratory practice is that this allows students to practice using a light microscope; however, study flexibility is limited as the students cannot take the microscope back home for self-study after the histology class has finished. Costly repairs and maintenance must also be considered when using CM. By contrast, VM technology can provide flexibility and convenience for both students and staffs. This method allows students to both self-study and group-study almost anywhere at any time. This review emphasizes that histology learning in undergraduate medical education using VM is no longer confined to the classroom. However, the basic skill of how to operate a conventional light microscope is still important for medical students because CM is commonly used in the hospital laboratories and some hospitals may not be equipped with VM technology.
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