The use of Augmented Reality (a form of Extended Reality) is a useful addition to anatomy teaching, as students experience less cognitive load. Also, students are more motivated to engage with the material when given the opportunity to learn with these new techniques. How can XR become further applied in anatomy education to optimise learning efficiency and learning pleasure for medical students?
Within anatomy education, Extended Reality has already been used, for example in the form of an app for studying anatomy. Students also report that when they study with Extended Reality, they experience less cognitive load and are more motivated to work with the material. However, research has not yet proven this and it is therefore still unknown what the exact effect of Extended Reality is on learning outcomes, motivation and cognitive load.
Dylan Henssen and Lucas Boer's goal with this voucher project is therefore to investigate what effect XR has on those factors in order to improve anatomy education for students of Medicine, Dentistry, Biology and Biomedical Sciences. Henssen and Boer also want this project to increase knowledge about XR among teachers, so that its application in teaching will increase. In doing so, they hope for cross-fertilisation of knowledge between lecturers of the various disciplines, both within and outside the medical faculty.
Plan of action
Lucas and Dylan deploy several methods to investigate how Extended Reality can become part of teaching. Besides a literature review and interviews with stakeholders, they also conduct several educational experiments measuring the effect of Augmented Reality on learning efficiency and cognitive load in students. One of these is an experiment that becomes an investigation of whether Augmented Reality can not only contribute to better learning efficiency, but also whether it helps better prepare students for traditional cutting room teaching. In addition, using a mental rotation test, in which students have to imagine how different anatomical parts look from different angles, becomes an investigation into whether XR helps to better represent anatomy in 3D.