ABSTRACT

Background: Histology has been traditionally taught using microscopes and glass slides with stained tissues. However, traditional approaches to teaching may not address the learning preferences of the millennial students. Advancements in technology have provided new opportunities for teaching and learning in medical education. Digital histological images are increasingly being used to teach histology to medical and dental students of late. The significance and feasibility of use of the virtual microscope and virtual images warrant reflection.
Objectives: To collect and review studies from published medical literature. To compare the experience in our institution with data available from the literature review.
Materials and  Methods: A review of published medical literature on the implementation, strengths and limitations, and impact of the use of virtual microscopy (VM) has been conducted. The findings have been compared with the experience in our institution.
Result: Most of the studies that evaluated students’ learning outcomes in histology after being taught using VM have reported significant improvements in the students’ performance. Our experience has been the same.
Discussion: In comparison with the traditional microscope-based approach of teaching histology, VM is at least as effective if not more for learning tissues at the microscopic level. The advantages of adopting VM far outweigh its limitations.
Conclusion: A judicious blending of traditional and technology based instruction would be beneficial to the tech-savvy generation of medical students.