Title

The process of curricular integration and its effects on anatomical knowledge retention

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

9-1-2020

Journal

Clinical Anatomy

Volume

33

Issue

6

DOI

10.1002/ca.23632

Keywords

anatomy; curriculum; learning; medical education

Abstract

Introduction: Integration has been recognized as an important aspect of medical education. After transitioning from a discipline-specific to a systems-based preclinical curriculum, we examined faculty perceptions of the integrated approach and also whether it would lead to better anatomy knowledge retention. Methods: To understand faculty perspectives, we reviewed curricular materials, interviewed block directors, and observed educational sessions. We analyzed knowledge retention through a 27-question anatomy test, comparing scores from the last class of the discipline-based curriculum and the first two classes of the integrated curriculum. Results: Planning integrated content involves purposeful ordering, is challenging for faculty, and requires additional resources. Evaluation of the integrated approach for anatomy content demonstrated a significant increase in knowledge retention (p =.012; 56.28% vs. 63.98% for old vs. new curriculum). Conclusions: This study helps the understanding of what is required for curricular integration. Our anatomy evaluation results corroborated the view that contextually embedded information is easier to learn and retain.

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