Document Type (Journals)

Original Research


Understanding anatomy is vital to occupational therapy (OT) for clinical success. Anatomy requires comprehending three-dimensional (3D) human structure relationships and student age and learning style differences may affect this understanding. This study examined how 3D anatomy software influenced online OT students’ grades among different ages and learning styles. The intervention group had 17 students (mean age 33 ± 8 years) and the control group had 18 students (mean age 32 ± 6 years). Students were categorized above or below the age of 30 and completed a learning style questionnaire at the beginning of the course. To determine the usefulness of the software, the intervention group completed a custom-survey. Independent sample t-tests were used to compare grades between the intervention and control groups. Non-parametric tests were used to compare grades of different ages and learning style groups. The intervention group had higher overall final course grades when compared to the control group, although not statistically significant (p>0.05). Additionally, lecture and laboratory grades were not higher (p>0.05). Most students (82%) reported the use of the anatomy software to be helpful in understanding course concepts. No statistically significant course grade differences were found among the different learning styles or two age groups (p>0.05). In conclusion, intervention group final course grades were higher and the software benefitted all learning styles and both age groups. Thus, OT programs should consider using 3D anatomy software programs to aid in foundational anatomy education.


Reivian Berrios Barillas, DPT, PhD teaches human anatomy and scientific inquiry at Concordia University - Wisconsin in the Occupational Therapy Department. She is a physical therapist and obtained her PhD in Clinical Translational Rehabilitation and Health Sciences from Marquette University. Dr. Berrios' interests are in anatomy education, health disparities, and orthopedics.

Declaration of Interest

The Concordia Intramural Teaching Grant partially funded this project.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.