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Student-centered integrated anatomy resource sessions at Alfaisal University



Alfaisal University is a new medical school in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that matriculates eligible students directly from high school and requires them to participate in a hybrid problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum. PBL is a well-established student-centered approach, and the authors have sought to examine if a student-centered, integrated approach to learn human structures leads to positive perceptions of learning outcomes. Ten students were divided into four groups to rotate through wet and dry laboratory stations (integrated resource sessions, IRSs) that engaged them in imaging techniques, embryology, histology, gross anatomy (dissections and prosections), surface anatomy, and self-directed learning questions. All IRSs were primarily directed by students. During two second-semester organ system blocks, forty students responded to a structured questionnaire designed to poll students' perceptions of changes in their knowledge, skills, and attitudes as a result of IRS. The majority (60%) of students felt that the student-centered approach to learning enhanced their medical knowledge. Most students also felt that the IRS approach was advantageous for formulating clear learning objectives (55%) and in preparing for examinations (65%). Despite their positive feelings toward IRS, students did not view this learning approach as an adequate replacement for the knowledge gained from lectures and textbooks. Students' performance on objective structured practical examinations improved significantly for the two curricular blocks that included IRS compared with earlier non-IRS blocks. A student-centered approach to teach human structure in a hybrid PBL curriculum may enhance understanding of the basic sciences in first-year medical students. Anat Sci Educ 3:272–275, 2010. © 2010 American Association of Anatomists.