Using classic and technology-based methods to enhance the student learning experience in histology

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Abstractpeer-review


Histology is taught across the first two years of the BM5 medical curriculum at the University of Southampton, however, poor student feedback encouraged redevelopment. Histology was changed from a standalone subject to one that is fully integrated with gross anatomy. ePracticals were introduced, to complete before anatomy practicals. Two-hour microscope-focused histology practicals were replaced with 1-hour interactive workshops allowing students to consolidate their knowledge through team-based, clinically-oriented tasks, and iPads were used to provide instant feedback on students’ progress. The aims of the study were to quantify student attitudes to the new format of histology teaching, and investigate which changed elements may have affected their learning experience. Evaluation data from two Year 1 (old format) and two Year 2 (new format) modules were collected after each module using a five-point Likert scale survey. At the end of Year 2, students (n=203) were asked to compare their histology learning experiences from Year 1 with Year 2 using a ten-point Likert scale survey, which included their attitudes towards histology as a subject and the main elements of teaching that were changed: integration with anatomy, its relevance to medicine, team-based learning approaches, and feedback. Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA on Ranks and Dunn’s pairwise comparison were used to test for differences in perception between the Year 1 and Year 2 formats. Spearman tests were used to identify correlations between students’ attitudes and the changed elements. In the module evaluations, significantly more students (p<0.05) rated Year 2 histology positively (68.6% and 71.0%) compared to Year 1 (31.8% and 46.3%). Student attitudes towards histology were significantly more positive after Year 2 than Year 1 (median 6/10 vs. 3/10; p<0.05) as was their opinion of the teaching (median 7/10 vs. 4/10; p<0.05). There were correlations between attitude after Year 2 and opinions of teaching (R=0.610; p=2x10-7), integration (R=0.658; p=2x10-7) and perception of feedback (R=0.642; p=2x10-7). Opinion of teaching also correlated with integration (R=0.730; p=2x10-7). With emerging technologies and an expanding curriculum, there is more reason to modernise histology teaching through a blended approach. Through integration with anatomy and increased feedback, student attitudes towards histology have been significantly improved.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventAnatomical Society Winter Meeting 2016 - King's College, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Dec 201621 Dec 2016


ConferenceAnatomical Society Winter Meeting 2016


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