Reinforcing Fundamental Knowledge While Encouraging Students’ Artistic Expression

D Reising
S Steele
Margaret M. Hansen EdD, MSN, RN, University of San Francisco


Drawing anatomical images can improve students’ learning, while tapping into their creative and artistic abilities. Students enrolled in a pathophysiology course completed a prerequisite assignment prior to learning about complex cardiac disorders. The activity involved creating an illustration of the human heart, labeling the anatomical structures, and depicting the flow of blood through the heart. This assignment was based on work by Paivio (1986), who advocated for the use of pictures and words to increase students’ cognitive coding, defined as ways of representing information in one’s mind, and Sweller’s (1988) theory describing the mental processes of learning, problem solving, human memory,