Learning with interactive computer graphics in the undergraduate neuroscience classroom

John R. Pani, Julia H. Chariker, Farah Naaz, William Mattingly, Joshua Roberts, Sandra E. Sephton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Instruction of neuroanatomy depends on graphical representation and extended self-study. As a consequence, computer-based learning environments that incorporate interactive graphics should facilitate instruction in this area. The present study evaluated such a system in the undergraduate neuroscience classroom. The system used the method of adaptive exploration, in which exploration in a high fidelity graphical environment is integrated with immediate testing and feedback in repeated cycles of learning. The results of this study were that students considered the graphical learning environment to be superior to typical classroom materials used for learning neuroanatomy. Students managed the frequency and duration of study, test, and feedback in an efficient and adaptive manner. For example, the number of tests taken before reaching a minimum test performance of 90 % correct closely approximated the values seen in more regimented experimental studies. There was a wide range of student opinion regarding the choice between a simpler and a more graphically compelling program for learning sectional anatomy. Course outcomes were predicted by individual differences in the use of the software that reflected general work habits of the students, such as the amount of time committed to testing. The results of this introduction into the classroom are highly encouraging for development of computer-based instruction in biomedical disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)507-528
Number of pages22
JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer graphics
  • Computer-based learning
  • Instruction
  • Learning
  • Neuroanatomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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