• histology education;
  • microscopic anatomy education;
  • medical education;
  • instructional design;
  • active learning;
  • adult learning;
  • learning styles


Medical school curricula are undergoing transformational change in response to calls for integrating content across courses and years to enable better retention and application and for individualizing learning to meet the diverse backgrounds and thus differing needs of students. To address the related teaching challenges, faculty can employ solid principles of adult learning and instructional design and use teaching strategies that stimulate different learning styles. We developed laboratory sessions that follow a learner-centered instructional design model we refer to as “PLHET,” reflecting the steps of preparing, linking, hooking, engaging, and transferring learning, and also applied teaching strategies that reflect Kolb's four styles of learning (accommodative, divergent, assimilative, and convergent). We utilized a group learning format to promote active learning, teamwork, and self-direction. Preliminary data based on student surveys of laboratory activity show positive responses. In the future, we will test the hypothesis that this design will improve medical students' performance. Anat Sci Educ © 2013 American Association of Anatomists.