Histology eLearning

Should the University of Southampton create an eLearning resource for histology teaching?

This is a third year student project which ran during the 2015-2016 academic year.


eLearning uses the Internet to improve knowledge and performance using videos, interactive multimedia and questions with instant feedback. The main established e-learning at this medical school is blended learning, mixing lecture taught topics with online computer assisted instruction learning. The NHS university and national learning strategy has put forward e-learning as a core tool in the delivery of teaching, throughout the UK. Delivery of learning is very beneficial with e-learning as it has greater accessibility, easier to update, also beneficial to students as they have control over what topics they cover, they can go at their own pace in a comfortable environment and also very cost effective to the medical school once created.

Histology is the study of microscopic anatomy, this would benefit greatly from a elearning resource. Study by Foster concluded that Digital Whole Slide imaging is a useful toll that is effectively replacing classic glass slide teaching and the number of medical schools using glass slides is decreasing. Digital Whole Slide images are computerized versions of a histological slice, they can be magnified, annotated for educational comments, many viewed in a slideshow and accessed on different devices. Glass slides are difficult to locate and identify, only one person at a time can see through the microscope preventing group discussions, imperfections develop and they can break. The digital form allows for annotations, can give orientation with multiple magnifications and accessed away from the lab. 56% of histopathologist’s used websites like histopathnet.org everyday. If clinically they are looking toward eLearning, should we at Southampton Medical School consider this?

Key Research Questions

The research questions are:

1. Understanding how students and staff feel regarding e-learning as an education tool
2. Do they feel Histology should be taught differently at this university?
3. What problem areas could be addressed by a new e-learning resource for Histology teaching?
4. Could this e-learning resource be realistically created and implemented?
5. What should a new e-learning resource include?


Amro A. Hussain e-Learning: The next Big Thing in Medical Education.

Gibbons A, Fairweather P. Computer-based instruction. In: Tobias S, Fletcher J (eds).

Clark D. Psychological myths in e-learning. Med Teach. 2002;24:598–604.

Jorge G. Ruiz, MD, Michael J. Mintzer, MD, and Rosanne M. Leipzig, MD, PhD The Impact of E-Learning in Medical Education

Medical education in the digital age: Digital whole slide imaging as an e-learning tool Foster K. Department of Pathology and Microbiology, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA

Wong, G., Greenhalgh, T.and Pawson, R. Internet-based medical education: a realist review of what works, for whom and in what circumstances

Access the project in MedShare