Universal Design for Learning in Anatomy Education of Healthcare Students: A Scoping Review

Anat Sci Educ. 2021 Dec 4. doi: 10.1002/ase.2160. Online ahead of print.


There are concerns among healthcare practitioners about poor anatomical knowledge among recent healthcare graduates. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework developed to enhance students’ experience of learning and help students to become motivated learners. This scoping review identified whether UDL has been utilized in third level healthcare education and if so, whether it had been used to enhance student motivation to study anatomy. Seven online databases were searched for studies reporting the use of UDL in the curricula of medical, dental, occupational therapy or speech and language therapy programs. Studies were screened for eligibility with set inclusion criteria. Data were extracted and analyzed. Analysis revealed that UDL was not specifically mentioned in any of the studies thus there are no published studies on UDL being formally applied in healthcare education. However, the authors identified 33 publications that described teaching methods which aligned with UDL in anatomy curricula and a thematic analysis yielded four main themes relating to teaching strategies being employed. Universal Design for Learning was not mentioned specifically, indicating that educators may not be aware of the educational framework, although they appeared to be utilizing aspects of it in their teaching. The review revealed that there is a lack of research concerning the anatomy education of occupational therapy and speech and language therapy students. The role of UDL in enhancing motivation to learn anatomy in medical, dental, occupational therapy and speech and language therapy programs has yet to be explored.

PMID:34862859 | DOI:10.1002/ase.2160

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