Alharbi Y, Al-Mansour M, Al-Saffar R, Garman A, Alraddadi A. Three-dimensional Virtual Reality as an Innovative Teaching and Learning Tool for Human Anatomy Courses in Medical Education: A Mixed Methods Study. Cureus. 2020 Feb 24;12(2):e7085

PMID: 32226686


Introduction Poor knowledge retention is one reason for medical student attrition in learning and has been a huge concern in medical education. Three-dimensional virtual reality (3D-VR)-based teaching and learning in medical education has been promoted to improve student learning outcomes. This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of 3D-VR in knowledge retention in human anatomy courses as compared to traditional teaching methods among medical students. Methods A convergent mixed methods design was utilized to evaluate learning outcomes in terms of short- and long-term knowledge retention scores among students using 3D-VR and those using traditional models and to describe students' experiences and views of the use of 3D-VR as a teaching and learning tool. Results Male students who used the 3D-VR tool had significantly higher short- and long-term knowledge scores than males who used the traditional methods. Meanwhile, females who used traditional methods showed significantly higher short-term knowledge scores than females who used 3D-VR. Conclusion Medical students described 3D-VR as a learning tool with a great deal to offer for learning human anatomy as compared to traditional methods. Therefore, we recommend adding the use of 3D-VR in the anatomy curriculum. However, several 3D-VR limitations were also identified, which may hinder its utilization for teaching and learning. These concerns must be addressed before 3D-VR tools are considered for implementation in medical education human anatomy courses.