Students struggle with the volume and complexity of physiology terminology. We compared first-year undergraduate psychology students’ learning of physiological terms using two teaching methods: one verbal (control group; n = 16) and one spatial and multisensory (experimental group; n = 19). The experimental group used clear plastic shower caps to mark brain regions and affix labels to another participant’s head. The control group learned the material verbally through a game. When tested verbally, both the control and experimental groups recalled more of the 10 terms immediately after the activity (+106% and +83%, respectively) and 2 wk later (+53% and +31%, respectively) than at the pretest (P less than 0.0005). When participants’ knowledge was tested spatially (labeling a brain diagram), the experimental group recalled more terms at the posttest (+76%) and followup (+73%) than at the pretest (P less than 0.0005), but the control group who showed no improvement at either time point (+12% and +14%, respectively). These findings support the notion that spatial and multisensory learning produces improved spatial recall over time while also supporting the notion of transfer-appropriate processing.
Vanags, T., Budimlic, M., Herbert, E., & Vickers, T. (2012). Showercap mindmap: A spatial activity for learning physiology terminology and location. Advances in Physiology Education, 36(2), 125-130. https://doi.org/10.1152/advan.00095.2011