Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Learning Cardiac Embryology....pdf (1.35 MB)

Learning cardiac embryology-which resources do students use, and why?

Download (1.35 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2022-10-18, 16:05 authored by Jane HollandJane Holland, Teresa PawlikowskaTeresa Pawlikowska

With increasing class sizes, small group activities for learning embryology are present in few institutions. How then do students supplement their lectures in order to ask and answer questions, or delve into concepts in detail? Arguably, animations and videos are ideal for visualizing four-dimensional anatomy, but how do students find and filter these? First-year medical students were surveyed with respect to the cardiac embryology component of their course and asked their opinions regarding the clinical relevance of this content and the resources they used to enhance learning. Students indicated that they considered cardiac embryology to be of relevance to clinical practice and that videos are a useful resource in helping them to learn this material. However, when seeking videos or resources, it emerged that students tended to Google information in preference to accessing online resources (or textbooks) specifically recommended by their instructor, despite students' recognition that "accuracy of information" was paramount when choosing what resource to use. While all students seemed reluctant to contact a staff member with questions, those with less proficiency in English were less likely to approach faculty for assistance. While acknowledging students as adult learners, self-regulated learning skills do not develop automatically and the development of these skills should be viewed as a "shared responsibility" between students and staff. Likewise, students also need to be taught critical appraisal of learning resources, especially in the complex online environment, with design of their bespoke institutional virtual learning environment facilitating easy identification and access of recommended resources. 



The original article is available at

Published Citation

Holland JC, Pawlikowska T. Learning cardiac embryology-which resources do students use, and why? Med Sci Educ. 2019;29(4):1051-1060.

Publication Date

13 September 2019

PubMed ID



  • Anatomy and Regenerative Medicine
  • Health Professions Education Centre




  • Accepted Version (Postprint)