Theoret CL, Carmel EN, Bernier S. Why dissection videos should not replace cadaver prosections in the gross veterinary anatomy curriculum: results from a comparative study. J Vet Med Educ. 2007 Spring;34(2):151-6

PMID: 17446641


The goal of our study was to evaluate the impact of a tool intended to eliminate large-animal cadavers from the anatomy laboratory, in view of their prohibitive cost and the logistic difficulties they pose. We sought to determine whether a commented video of the bovine abdominal cavity could effectively replace a prosection of this region. The hypothesis was that students receiving video instruction would achieve lower scores on a post-instructional exam than those benefiting from a commented cadaver prosection. A commented video of the bovine abdominal cavity was compared to a prosection covering identical material. Seventy-five first-year students, having received no prior instruction on the region of interest, were divided into two groups of equivalent knowledge: group A received prosection instruction (N = 38) and group B, video instruction (N = 37). Following instruction, students completed a test on a cadaver, requiring that they correctly match 15 labeled structures with a list of 40 possible answers. Statistical analysis consisted of a repeated-measures linear model with group (A vs. B) as a between-subject factor and time (pre- vs post-test) as a within-subject factor, with significance at p < or = 0.05. Students in group A achieved mean scores of 9.21 +/- 0.31, while those in group B scored 7.65 +/- 0.31. Although both groups significantly improved following instruction, there was a statistically significant difference in the post-instruction scores between groups A and B (p = 0.0007), in favor of the prosection group. The major comment in favor of cadaver prosection pertained to the sensory experience; in favor of video instruction, students stressed accessibility to the pedagogical material for autonomous learning and revision as well as superior viewing compared to the setup adopted for prosections. In conclusion, while our data suggest that cadaver prosections are superior to video demonstrations, it is apparent that students can learn bovine abdominal anatomy by both methods. Future investigations on the subject of alternative teaching methods are warranted.

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