An innovative approach to supplement the teaching of the spatial gross anatomy relationships of muscles to undergraduates in health sciences

Hope Gangata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Satisfactory assessment of the musculoskeletal disorders in patients by health professionals, followed by diagnosis, treatment, and referral require a good understanding of spatial and three-dimensional (S&3D) anatomy of musculature. Meanwhile, the importance and impact of S&3D learning has been underscored. A novel method to promote S&3D skills in the learning of the musculature of the upper and lower limb was developed, and subsequently evaluated among 120 first-year Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy undergraduate students at the University of Cape Town. Outlines of human muscles were mapped onto A4 papers, digitalized into a 22-page electronic document, labeled with anatomical details, and printed out. Each student was given a copy to cut out the diagrams and paste them correctly onto adult skeletons using Prestik, in what was called the muscle cut-out exercise (MCOE), just prior to each dissection practical. A questionnaire evaluating the MCOE was developed and 56 students responded. The students "strongly agreed" that the MCOE was useful in teaching them the spatial perspective of the human musculature. Forty-nine percent of the students felt that the size of the diagrams did not always match the skeletons due to variable sizes of the skeletons and 27% suggested the use of color as a means of enhancing the diagrams. The MCOE is a low-cost, enjoyable, time-efficient, easily reproducible, and hands-on practical learning experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-347
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Anatomy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

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