The structure/functions of the cranial nerves is a fundamental topic for dental students. It is very challenging to learn this topic using the textbooks and images only. It is generally accepted that the acquisition of anatomical knowledge can be facilitated by visualization of structures. This study aimed to assess a cranial nerve animation developed as a supplementary teaching tool for the dental students. A whiteboard animation detailing the function and anatomy of the cranial nerves was developed, utilizing a scenario from everyday life. It was based on Mayer’s theory of multimedia learning. Questionnaires were designed to assess the participants’ attitudes toward the animation as a teaching tool and also collect data pertaining to their knowledge of the cranial nerves before and after visualization of the animation.
Results show improvement in 12 out of the 17 questions assessing cranial nerve knowledge and 6 of these results were found to be statistically significant (p<0.05). The students enjoyed watching the animation and found it supplementary to the reading material/lectures. Furthermore, the animation was found to be a useful tool in understanding the cranial nerves and their functions. The study also identified that students strongly recommended animations for teaching complex topics in anatomy. Overall, these findings indicate that an animation demonstrating the cranial nerves in a simple, everyday functional scenario is effective at enhancing student knowledge and supplements the traditional teaching methods.
This study was funded by a teaching grant from the Dental School and Hospital, UCC and ethical approval was granted by Social Research Ethics Committee (SREC), UCC.