Developing and evaluating virtual anatomy resources for teaching allied health disciplines

  • Nicola Massy-Westropp School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
  • Eileen Giles School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
  • Rachaelle Dantu School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
  • Harsha Wechalekar School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
  • Arjun Burlakoti School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia
Keywords: digital anatomy, tertiary, virtual environment for radiotherapy training, learning object review instrument


Allied health professionals require an understanding of anatomy for purposes such as planning radiotherapy, or treating muscle imbalance. In practice, they will rarely see the structure they are treating, but seeing it during their education is invaluable. To reveal deep structures in the human body, neighbouring structures are unavoidably removed as a donated human body is dissected. Academic and clinical staff approached the challenge for students’ understanding of the male reproductive and urinary system, which is indeed disrupted by dissection. An existing radiotherapy planning instrument Virtual Environment for Radiotherapy Training was used to create videos of real patients’ internal structures. Structures difficult to see in dissection, models and images were transformed from magnetic resonance and computerised tomography scans into videos that appeared three-dimensional, for use by students learning anatomy. Qualitative evaluation of these anatomy videos suggested that they can be accessed at students’ convenience and can be customised with captions, pauses or quizzes. Quantitative evaluation suggested that offering assessment-related incentives may not result in all students choosing to access the videos, but that those who did performed better on both labelling and short answer explanations of related content on immediate and short-term testing.


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How to Cite
Massy-WestroppN., GilesE., DantuR., WechalekarH., & BurlakotiA. (2019). Developing and evaluating virtual anatomy resources for teaching allied health disciplines. Research in Learning Technology, 27.
Original Research Articles