Incorporation of Light Field Photography into an Online Anatomy Resource Does Not Influence Student Quiz Performance or Perceptions of Usability


Although numerous online resources for gross anatomy are available, most feature two-dimensional photographs generated by traditional cameras. To determine whether the incorporation of light field photographs (images with an adjustable focal point) into an online anatomy resource would result in improved learning beyond traditional photographs, two online learning modules on the gross anatomy of the orbit were created. The modules were identical in content except for the type of photography used (traditional = control; light field = experimental). Students were randomly assigned into two groups and viewed one of the two learning modules. Pre- and post-quizzes comprised of a mixture of questions involving a low and high degree (rated by experienced faculty) of spatial difficulty were administered. A survey was distributed to assess student evaluations of the module. Students (N = 49; 26 control, 23 experimental) demonstrated increased quiz scores from pre- (control = 34.6 ± 15.6%, experimental = 24.3 ± 16.5%) to post-quizzes (control = 77.3 ± 20.7%, experimental = 71.3 ± 17.9%, P<0.001), but to a similar extent between photography types (+42.7 and +47.0%, P = 0.495, respectively). Greater improvements were seen for quiz questions with a high degree of difficulty (+50.2%) than for low degree of difficulty (+39.2%; P = 0.044), but to similar extents for both photography types (P = 0.125). Regardless of which module was used, students reported the module as well organized and easy to learn from and they would recommend it to their peers. The inclusion of light field photography conferred no additional benefit compared to traditional photography.

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We thank Drs. John Caldwell and Norma Wagoner for feedback on a draft of the manuscript, our colleagues for their assistance in reviewing the anatomical content of the quizzes, and our students for their willing participation.

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Correspondence to Michael A. Pascoe.

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A Rymer Small Grant from the Academy of Medical Educators at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, awarded to the authors, funded this work.

Electronic supplementary material

Appendix 1

Questions from pre- and post-quizzes (DOCX 97 kb)

Appendix 2

Usage survey will be included as an appendix (PDF 94 kb)

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Pascoe, M.A., Lee, L.M. Incorporation of Light Field Photography into an Online Anatomy Resource Does Not Influence Student Quiz Performance or Perceptions of Usability. Med.Sci.Educ. 27, 465–474 (2017).

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  • Online learning
  • Cadaver photography
  • Light field photography
  • Gross anatomy education
  • Orbit anatomy
  • Anatomical resources