Quantification of gross anatomy learning using gaze tracking and electroencephalography (EEG)
El-Shaar, Ala'a Abdul
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The goal of medical educators is to teach their students in a manner that is effective for long-term, accurate knowledge retention, but measurement of long-term retention is difficult. Recent work by our lab has explored the use of gaze tracking to document and measure learning in medical gross anatomy students. In this study we combine gaze tracking and EEG to examine knowledge retention by these students. Medical gross anatomy students (n=22) were asked to identify anatomical structures displayed on a computer screen immediately following the gross anatomy course and again six months after the course ended. In this experiment the participants were instructed to visually fixate on the named structure of interest, or to indicate uncertainty by fixating on the upper left corner of the screen. Immediately after the course ended the students correctly fixated on the structures 70% of the time, incorrectly fixated 26.5% of the time, and indicated uncertainty 3.5% of the time. Preliminary results indicate that six months after the end of the course the students' performance at this task had not diminished (67% correct, 26% incorrect, 7% uncertain). However, the speed with which the students made their final decision was significantly longer 6 months after the course ended. The average time to identify the structure by fixating for the final time on the region of interest was 2.22s immediately after the course and 3.0s at the 6 month follow up (p<0.001). These results indicate that 6 months after the end of the course the subjects have solid knowledge retention but require more time to think before answering correctly. Visuospatial ability did not significantly correlate with speed to identify the structure (r = -0.279; ns). Additionally, our results confirm that the students' correct behavioral responses of a task by visual fixation demonstrate signals associated with familiarity and recollection, 300-500 ms and 500-800ms post-stimulus onset respectively, on waveforms generated from EEG activity.