European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 23 - Number 3
Eur J Anat, 23 (3): 177-186 (2019)

Learning osteology: what resources do undergraduate anatomy students prefer?

Daleen Raubenheimer1, Arnelle Mostert1, Jacques E. Raubenheimer2, Amanda Nel1

1Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, South Africa, 2Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Free State, South Africa

ABSTRACT Several osteology-learning resources are helpful, but using human bones could optimise students’ learning experience. Hence, the Department of Basic Medical Sciences, University of the Free State (UFS), South Africa, issues a complete set of unarticulated bones of a human skeleton to registered anatomy students. However, not all students choose to accept this set of bones for additional study. The purpose of this study was to explore anatomy students’ utilisation of human bones and to determine their preferences and suggestions for alternative resources to learn osteology. This descriptive observational study entailed an opinion survey regarding resources for learning osteology amongst anatomy students at the UFS in 2014. These students included medical, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and nursing students (n = 425). Results are presented using descriptive statistics. The majority (89.9%) of students across disciplines found using human bones beneficial, irrespective of whether they chose to receive bones. The bones were most frequently used by occupational therapy students and least frequently used by medical students. Students used bones for learning bone names and specific features that included bone markings and muscle attachments. Other preferred and suggested resources included textbooks, atlases, computer software and the anatomy museum. This study reveals that students prefer to use human bones to learn osteology. The results could assist anatomy departments to develop a strategy to provide sufficient opportunities for anatomy students to use human bones to learn osteology. Alternative, suitable resources for the study of osteology could be implemented due to increasing student numbers and difficulty in obtaining human material for teaching purposes.

Keywords: Anatomy – Osteology – Osteology learning – Osteology resources – Anatomy education – Health professions education

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)