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Computer-aided learning (CAL) is an integral part of many medical courses. The neuroscience course at Oxford University for medical students includes CAL course of neuroanatomy. CAL is particularly suited to this since neuroanatomy requires much detailed three-dimensional visualization, which can be presented on screen. The CAL course was evaluated using the concept of approach to learning. The aims of university teaching are congruent with the deep approach-seeking meaning and relating new information to previous knowledge-rather than to the surface approach of concentrating on rote learning of detail. Seven cohorts of medical students (N = 869) filled in approach to learning scale and a questionnaire investigating their engagement with the CAL course. The students' scores on CAL-course-based neuroanatomy assessment and later university examinations were obtained. Although the students reported less use of the deep approach for the neuroanatomy CAL course than for the rest of their neuroanatomy course (mean = 24.99 vs. 31.49, P < 0.001), deep approach for CAL was positively correlated with neuroanatomy assessment performance (r = 0.12, P < 0.001). Time spent on the CAL course, enjoyment of it, the amount of CAL videos watched and quizzes completed were each significantly positively related to deep approach. The relationship between deep approach and enjoyment was particularly notable (25.5% shared variance). Reported relationships between deep approach and academic performance support the desirability of deep approach in university students. It is proposed that enjoyment of the course and the deep approach could be increased by incorporation of more clinical material which is what the students liked most. Anat Sci Educ 10: 560-569. © 2017 American Association of Anatomists.

Original publication




Journal article


Anat Sci Educ

Publication Date





560 - 569


academic achievement, computer-aided instruction, e-learning, formative assessment, learning approach, medical education, neuroanatomy education, undergraduate education, Academic Performance, Adult, Cohort Studies, Computer-Assisted Instruction, Curriculum, Education, Medical, Undergraduate, Educational Measurement, Faculty, Medical, Female, Humans, Learning, Male, Neuroanatomy, Students, Medical, Surveys and Questionnaires, Teaching, United Kingdom, Universities, Young Adult