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ADAPT - Approaches to the Delivery of Anatomy and Physiology Teaching

Originally funded by JISC

JISC logoThis project was funded by JISC under the RePRODUCE programme

This project will redevelop an existing undergraduate module at level 1 that introduces human biology, anatomy and physiology to paramedic students. The module will undergo internal quality assurance and be delivered September 2009 over two semesters. The module design will be based upon structured deployment of reusable and repurposed learning materials sourced externally (65%) and internally (35%) to provide knowledge and information about normal functioning of the human body and enable problem based and solution focused learning.

Approaches to the Delivery of Anatomy and Physiology Teaching


ADAPT is funded by JISC under the RePRODUCE project. The project team are developing Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) to use in the delivery of the anatomy and physiology module NU1601.

The project will support a change in teaching, learning and assessment for first year undergraduate paramedic students around human anatomy and physiology.
A different approach to 21st century education - supporting life long learning – requires us to rethink our approach to education. The capacity for independent learning is essential to the future well-being of healthcare students as they will need to continually learn new skills that they were not taught in their undergraduate programmes. They will need to feel comfortable working in cross-disciplinary teams that encompass multiple ways of knowing. These challenges require that we re-conceptualize parts of our educational systems and at the same time find ways to reinforce learning outside of formal classroom settings.

Rather than taking a traditional system by system approach to understanding the body – studying in a linear progression (week by week) across two semesters, students will access and use reusable learning objects (RLOs) and materials to provide relevant knowledge and information as and when they need it; focusing on key concepts and case studies illustrating common problems encountered in practice. A comment we hear from students is that knowledge does not always inform practice - until the end of the course! Reusable learning objects will be selected and existing learning materials repurposed that support student learning needs. They will be embedded into a structured framework that will guide the student from one topic area to another, establishing a supporting knowledge base for their practice and also encouraging deeper study of human biology at the time it is needed. Human biology, anatomy and physiology subjects are often delivered from the perspective of theoretical, declarative knowledge arising from existing texts and assessed through written examinations or multiple choice questions i.e. the student ‘declares’ it back to the teacher. In reality the healthcare student requires functioning knowledge (the academic knowledge) procedural knowledge (skills) and conditional knowledge (how and when to use skills).


Aims & objectives

The aim of the project is to understand the impact of reusable learning content on anatomy and physiology on the learning and practice of undergraduate paramedic students through redesigning and developing an existing module offered during year 1 of undergraduate degree preparation.

ADAPT - Approaches to the delivery of anatomy and physiology - will build on and use a number of approaches and tools available from JISC funded projects and other national initiatives in learning content design, repositories and application, in order to create innovative student learning opportunities in the classroom and in supervised practice.

The project will fully utilise reusable learning objects that have been created and held by other institutions and organisations; identify, access and evaluate useful materials on line that could be deposited and incorporated into a repository and repurpose existing learning and teaching materials and activities to support the objectives of the project and student learning activities


  • Lucy Warman
  • John O'Donoghue
  • Sarla Gandhi
  • Robin Richardson
  • Richard Currie

Results & outputs

Quiz During the execution of the ADAPT project some question arose about the current learning materials available to students, which material students found most effective for their learning, were the RLOs going to solve a problem, would the be of benefit to the students and the concern that students my not be interested in the RLOs.

The team planned to investigate these issues by requesting that the students complete a questionnaire about their learning and the learning materials available before the RLOS were delivered to the students and by asking the students to evaluate the RLOs when they used them.

The team invited students who were currently studying or had completed a level one module on anatomy and physiology on either a BA (Hons) Complementary Medicine course or the BA (Hons) Paramedics to participate in the questionnaire. Although the project initially focused on a module included in the Paramedics course, the team opened the questionnaire out to those who had completed very similar modules to try to increase the response rate.

The questionnaire explored whether the students felt they were meeting or had met the learning outcomes of the module, whether the knowledge they developed was suitable for the rest of their course, the methods through which they felt they learnt effectively, the usefulness of learning materials such as reading, videos, quizzes etc, how effective different learning materials were to enable students to consolidate their learning and whether they felt and RLO might be of value.