Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



Understanding human long bone anatomy is an important concept to master for post-secondary students that major in medical fields since skeletal structures assist in locating a pulse, conducting clinical procedures, and identifying injection sites. Skeletal anatomy is also used to name structures associated with other organ systems like veins, arteries, and nerves. This explanatory mixed methods study explores post-secondary students’ knowledge retention and perception of various constructivist activities that utilize historical approaches based on the works of Vesalius, the Father of Modern Anatomy to teach long bone anatomy. Three treatment groups and one controlled comparison group (n= 92) were provided an online demographic survey, pre and posttests the day of the experimental lesson, a questionnaire regarding enjoyment and utilization of the activity, and two additional posttests given four and twelve weeks after the activity to gather knowledge retention data. Thirteen participants who fell within the quantitative tails of the first posttest assessment were interviewed regarding the activity. Coded interviews, field notes, observations and quantitative data were used for meta-inference. The data suggests that the osteology activities that incorporate historical and constructivist aspects increased students’ enjoyment, knowledge retention, and self-directed learning outside the classroom. The group that utilized multiple learning modalities through drawing and creating mental maps with blindfolds showed a positive significant difference (p < 0.05) among other treatments with respect to knowledge retention twelve weeks after the activity. Meta-inference of data suggests the utilization of constructivist activities that cater to several learning modalities will facilitate partner interaction, increase laboratory enjoyment, provide students with additional study techniques, and enhance knowledge retention the day of the activity and twelve weeks after the activity. This study fills a gap in the literature in which the incorporation of constructivist activities designed using historicality of cognition, active and meaningful learning have not been explored with regards to knowledge retention within an osteology laboratory setting. Additionally, this study could be used across disciplines and will be beneficial to educators, scientists, medical students and undergraduate students.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Blanchard, Pamela



Included in

Education Commons