Did the Rapid Transition to Online Learning in Response to COVID-19 Impact Students' Cognitive Load and Performance in Veterinary Anatomy?

Jones, Karina, Miller, Dan J., and Noble, Prisca (2024) Did the Rapid Transition to Online Learning in Response to COVID-19 Impact Students' Cognitive Load and Performance in Veterinary Anatomy? Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. e20230135. (In Press)

[img] PDF (Publisher Accepted Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.3138/jvme-2023-0135


COVID-19 safety required rapid transitions to online learning across education. This posed unique challenges for veterinary anatomy, which is a practical subject. This study compares the cognitive load and academic performance of first- and second-year veterinary students studying anatomy in 2019 (pre-COVID-19) and 2020 (post-COVID-19 teaching adjustme nts). Importantly, the core teaching content remained identical for both courses in 2019 and 2020 apart from teaching method (in-person vs. online), allowing us to isolate the effects of teaching method on cognitive load and academic performance. Cognitive load was measured among first- (n2019 = 105, n2020 = 49) and second-year students (n2019 = 85, n2020 = 42) at the end of each teaching semester, using a validated instrument. The instrument measures intrinsic load (IL, study material complexity), extraneous load (EL, presentation of material), and germane load (GL, self-perceived learning). t-Tests compared the 2019 and 2020 cohorts with respect to both cognitive load and academic performance. The results indicated that 2019 and 2020 cohorts did not differ on IL or EL in either the first- or second-year subject. However, among both first- and second-year students, the 2020 cohort reported significantly less GL compared to the 2019 cohort. Additionally, the first-year 2020 cohort performed at a significantly lower level than the first-year 2019 cohort. No significant difference in performances was reported between second-year cohorts. Therefore, despite being less inclined to perceive that online course activities enhanced their understanding of anatomy, second-year students with previous experience of learning anatomy in an in-person tertiary environment adjusted better than first-year students with limited experience.

Item ID: 81718
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1943-7218
Keywords: veterinary education, cognitive load, veterinary anatomy, covid disruption, COVID19
Copyright Information: © American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges, 2023.
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2024 01:31
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390199 Curriculum and pedagogy not elsewhere classified @ 30%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300902 Veterinary anatomy and physiology @ 40%
52 PSYCHOLOGY > 5201 Applied and developmental psychology > 520102 Educational psychology @ 30%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280101 Expanding knowledge in the agricultural, food and veterinary sciences @ 50%
16 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 1601 Learner and learning > 160102 Higher education @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 2
Last 12 Months: 1
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page