An Analysis of Student Satisfaction with Active Learning Techniques in an Online Graduate Anatomy Course: Consideration of Demographics and Previous Course Enrollment




Bradley, Libby
Meyer, Kim
Robertson, Taylor
Kerr, Marcel
Heck, Amber
Reeves, Rustin
Handler, Emma


0000-0002-3126-7758 (Bradley, Libby)

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Purpose: Online learning has become an essential part of mainstream higher education, allowing greater access for students. With the increase in online course enrollment, specifically that of anatomy, understanding online teaching best practices is critical. Active learning has previously shown many benefits in face-to-face anatomy courses, including increases in student satisfaction. Currently, no research has measured the satisfaction of several active learning techniques implemented in an asynchronous, online graduate anatomy course. Methods: This study compared the student satisfaction achieved by four active learning techniques with consideration of demographics and previous course enrollment. Survey questions consisted of multiple-choice and Likert-style that asked students to indicate their level of satisfaction with the active learning techniques. One hundred seventy (170) students completed the online anatomy course and surveys. Results: Students were more satisfied with question constructing and jigsaw than with concept mapping and team-learning module. Additionally, historically excluded student groups (underrepresented racial minorities) were more satisfied with active learning than White students. Age, gender, previous anatomy experience and/or online course experience did not influence the satisfaction of the active learning techniques. However, students with higher GPAs and those who had no graduate degree were more satisfied with the active learning techniques than students who had lower GPAs and those with a graduate degree. Conclusion: These findings provide evidence that students enrolled in an online graduate anatomy course were satisfied with the active learning techniques, dependent on the specific technique, demographics, and previous course enrollment. Results provide anatomy educators with a better understanding of which techniques work best in an online anatomy course. Currently, there is a lack of research comparing active learning techniques in an online learning environment. These findings provide online anatomy educators with evidence that active learning techniques improve satisfaction, with consideration of student demographics and previous course enrollment.