As one of the more difficult components of any curricula, neuroanatomy poses many challenges to students – not only because of the numerous discrete structures, but also due to the complicated spatial relations between them, which must be learned. Traditional anatomical education uses 2D images with a focus on dissection. This approach tends to underestimate the cognitive leaps required between textbook, lecture, and dissection cases. With reduced anatomical teaching time available, and varying student spatial abilities, new techniques are needed for training. The goal of this study is to assess the improvement of trainee understanding of 3D brain anatomy, orientation, visualization, and navigation through the use of digital training regimes in comparison with current methods. Two subsets of health science and medical students were tested individually after being given a group lecture and either a pre- or post-dissection digital lab. Results suggest that exposure to a 3D digital lab may improve knowledge acquisition and understanding by the students, particularly for first time learners.
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