OPEN ACCESSJanuary 26, 2011

Human Development: Development of the Face and Palate


    This resource is an interactive educational module depicting human face and palate development. The module was created to augment embryology instruction in medical and dental curricula. Three dimensional visualization of morphogenesis during embryonic development is a difficult task, and this module was designed to alleviate that difficulty. Students access the module after a traditional didactic instruction on facial development. They should spend approximately half an hour going through the material and consolidating the instructor's content with the 3D imaging. The efficacy of the materials was assessed using first-year medical and dental students. Although the student groups were small (15–20 students), the materials tended to enhance student learning, as indicated by pre- and post-testing. The resource was found to be advantageous when used in conjunction with lecture or small-group instruction. No assessment of the module's impact as a stand-alone educational tool has been undertaken. The module should be considered a limited tool for understanding 3D tissue movements and interactions during facial development. Further instruction is required to gain a thorough knowledge of facial development. Expansion and improvement of the resource are planned to incorporate earlier developmental time points and more detailed features of development, such as tooth and cranial nerve development.

    Educational Objectives

    By the end of this module, learners will be able to:

    1. Describe the morphogenesis of the face and palate, including interactions of the five facial primordia.

    2. Describe clefting anomalies of the face and palate.