How to Implement LearnSmart Prep for Anatomy & Physiology

Published Fri Sep 29 00:00:00 EDT 2017

By Jim Connely, McGraw-Hill Education


jim-connely-professional

A growing number of students take A&P I at a community college and won't make it to the second semester (A&P II).

Many schools across the country offer “open enrollment”, which means that anyone can take the course without any prerequisite. It has been over 30 years since I took high school biology and I could walk right in and take an A&P course at a college with an open enrolment policy. This is both a good and bad situation. It is good that schools are open to anyone who aspires to a career in healthcare, but bad because a solid science background is one of many things needed to be successful in the two semester A&P course.

Based on my experiences over the past fifteen years, I have seen a mix of drop, fail and withdraw rates range from 10 to 60%. More and more, I hear that these rates are going up. So what can we do to help try and solve this problem?

This is a complex problem. One solution is the implementation of LearnSmart Prep for A&P, which is published by McGraw-Hill Education. In full disclosure, this is the company where I proudly work.

LearnSmart Prep helps your anatomy & physiology students thrive in A&P I by helping them solidify their knowledge in the key areas of cell biology, chemistry, study skills and math.  Using super-adaptive technology, the program identifies what a student doesn’t know, and then provides “teachable moments” designed to mimic the office hour experience. When combined with a personalized learning plan, an unprepared or struggling student has all the tools they need to quickly and effectively learn the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in in a college level A&P course.

Watch a brief overview of LearnSmart Prep for A&P here:



This brief video highlights LearnSmart Prep for Anatomy & Physiology. LearnSmart Prep helps your anatomy & physiology students thrive in A&P I by helping them solidify their knowledge in the key areas of cell biology, chemistry, study skills and math. Using super-adaptive technology, the program identifies what a student doesn’t know, and then provides “teachable moments” designed to mimic the office hour experience. When combined with a personalized learning plan, an unprepared or struggling student has all the tools they need to quickly and effectively learn the foundational knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in in a college level A&P course.


I know you are thinking this is great, but the challenge comes back to access. At McGraw-Hill, we believe in providing courtesy access to Connect Anatomy & Physiology. This means that students can have access for 14 days before paying for our product. This is good news, but access issues still remain. Most of this stems from the lack of access to the formal class roster in advance of the class. Additionally, students are trying to get their bearings and have multiple challenges and demands on their resources.

Over the past couple of years, our product teams put together the following implementation ideas for LearnSmart Prep Anatomy & Physiology to help address some of the obstacles of getting students access to LearnSmart Prep. If you have a good one not listed below, please feel free to send it along to: james.connely@mheducation.com. I will make sure to get it added to our list.

Implementation Ideas:

  1. Offer a Summer Bridge Program, or Student Boot Camp
  • LearnSmart Prep used as one component of student assignments
  • LearnSmart Prep used as the only component for curriculum
  1. Assign LearnSmart Prep the first day of classes, and have students complete it in the first 2-3 weeks of the course for purposes of remediation and getting all students up-to-speed.
  2. Use LearnSmart Prep as a remediation tool after the first exam for those who perform below a specified threshold.
  3. Use LearnSmart Prep as a requirement for students who drop/fail the course, before they can take the course again.
  4. Assign the LearnSmart Prep diagnostic assessment that is available in Connect on first day of class, with those performing at or below a certain threshold required to complete LearnSmart Prep assignments, in addition to other required course work, within the first few weeks.
  5. Assign LearnSmart Prep modules during your A&P II course to give your students a quick refresher on these topics. For example, before starting the urinary system, assign your students a short module on cell transport from LearnSmart Prep.