The impacts of three-dimensional anatomical atlas on learning anatomy

Sohyun Park, Yumin Kim, Sohyeon Park, Jung A. Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Gross anatomy has traditionally been the foundation of medical education. Medical students have learned the structure of the human body through dissection, lecture, and textbooks. As tablets and three-dimensional (3D) applications are developed, 3D atlas applications are utilized in learning anatomy by medical students. The purpose of this research is to investigate the impacts of 3D atlas applications on students' understanding of gross anatomy. This research was targeted at medical students taking the Anatomy and Embryology class in 2017 and 2018, at Ewha Womans University. The correlation between use of 3D atlas and student's results on the Anatomy and Embryology test was analyzed. An open-book anatomy quiz was also carried out to analyze the correlation between the type of atlas each student refers to and the results of the quiz. Independent t test between groups did not show statistically significant difference in the results of the Anatomy and Embryology test. However, the group referring to 3D atlas showed significantly higher results on the simple questions of the open-book anatomy quiz (P < 0.05). In conclusion, 3D atlas is not very helpful in acquiring deep anatomical knowledge or memorizing the location of anatomical structures, but it can simply aid in the rapid identification of anatomical structures. Additionally, the 3D atlas will show good synergy with the two-dimensional atlas if used properly in anatomy education, because most students think it is useful to use the 3D atlas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalAnatomy and Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by the Ewha Womans University Research Grant of 2018, and the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017R1C1B1011306).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019. Anatomy & Cell Biology.


  • 3D atlas
  • Anatomy
  • Application
  • Learning
  • Medical education


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