HAPS Learning Goals for Students


Adopted 1992, Revised  2020


Guidelines - The guidelines are meant to be used for overall course and curriculum development.  See Target Audience, Clarification of Intent, and History of this Document.

Goals - The goals form the unifying foundation for all topics in anatomy and physiology (A&P) and are to be emphasized throughout Anatomy and Physiology I and II.  These overarching goals have given rise to the detailed and measurable learning outcomes.

Learning Outcomes (LOs) - The LOs document contains over 800 statements about the specific course content (organized by module, ex. body system) that can be used to measure student mastery of that content.  Instructors will not be able to incorporate all of these into a two-semester A&P series of courses, but should make attempts to include as many as possible.  Some LOs may be covered in other courses (Chemistry, Cell Biology, etc.) within a particular curriculum.  The LOs are found on the society’s webpage.


The following list of Goals is the basis for the extensive list of HAPS A&P Learning Outcomes that are specified for the various topics and modules to be covered in the two-semester anatomy and physiology curriculum and govern the development of lecture and lab curriculum, including assessment of both knowledge acquisition and mastery.  These goals have to be viewed as an overarching set of learning outcomes and objectives that govern why specific topics are covered and learning activities are recommended to be used for generating an educational environment that would allow for the specific HAPS A&P learning outcomes to be achieved by students (HAPS Course Guidelines).  Given the integrative nature of the scientific disciplines of both anatomy and physiology, all goals and learning outcomes stem from the philosophical perspective that students should be able to recognize and apply patterns that unify and organize content that allows them to simplify the abundant and complex details of anatomy and physiology so as to understand rather than just memorize concepts regarding human anatomy and/or physiology.

These goals form the foundation for all topics in anatomy and physiology and are to be emphasized throughout Anatomy and Physiology I and II. They underlie and integrate understanding across the HAPS A&P Learning Outcomes.

Upon successful completion of Anatomy and Physiology I and II students will be able to:

1.   Use appropriate terminology to discuss anatomy and physiology.
2.   Use appropriate laboratory tools and techniques to examine anatomical structures or physiological functions. (HAPS Course Guidelines, Lab Safety, and Cadaver Lab Design)
3.   Identify anatomical structures and describe the complex interrelationships between structure and function.
4.   Explain how body systems work together to maintain homeostasis.
5.   Explain how variability in the human population produces ranges of values considered "normal" for body parameters.
6.   Propose evidence-based hypotheses to explain physiological responses or the functions of anatomical structures.
7.   Apply knowledge of anatomy and physiology to real-world situations.
8.   Recognize and apply patterns that unify, organize, and simplify the abundant detail of anatomy and physiology.


The following goals pertain to skills that students should develop while taking Anatomy and Physiology, but will also be reinforced in other curricular coursework. As these skills do not pertain solely to the content of anatomy and physiology, it is recommended that assignments and projects be used that develop these skills within the context of the Content Integration Goals. These goals may be adapted to fit where the instructor feels they are most appropriate within the course content. There is no expectation of equal emphasis throughout all anatomy and physiology topics.

9.    Interpret and draw appropriate conclusions from graphical and other representations of data.
10.  Apply information literacy skills to access and evaluate peer-reviewed resources.
11.  Approach and examine anatomy and physiology issues from an evidence-based perspective.
12.  Adapt information to effectively communicate with different audiences.
13.  Recognize that our individual differences (ethnicity, gender, culture, etc.) shape our understanding of anatomy and physiology.
14.  Foster respect for individuals across differences within educational and professional settings.