Professor James Pickering

Professor James Pickering


I teach human anatomy to medical students and have research interests in Technology-Enhanced Learning and its role in curriculum development and learner gain. I graduated from the Department of Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield and then moved to Leeds where I completed a PhD demonstrating studentship. Currently, I am the University's Student Education Academic Lead and Academic Lead for Learning Analytics System Implementation Project. I am also a Visiting Professor at the University of Malaya, Malaysia.

In recognition of my teaching and scholarly activities I have received numerous national honours including the Association of Learning Technologists’ Learning Technologist of the Year Individual Award (2014), the Times Higher Education Most Innovative Teacher of the Year Award (2014), am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and in 2017 I received a National Teaching Fellowship. I was awarded my Chair in Anatomical Education by the University of Leeds in April 2019. 

Listen to an interview on my approach to anatomy education scholarship for the Anatomy Education Podcast here:

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  • Student Education Academic Lead
  • Academic Lead for Learning Analytics System Implementation Project

Research interests

Educational Scholarship

Pedagogical research. My research interests are mainly focused on evaluating the efficacy of technology-based learning resources, and how this information can be used to develop evidence-based healthcare curricula. Using a range of methodologies, such as quantitative, qualitative and systematic reviews, I have worked collaboratively on a range of projects that draw on my scholarship model of integrating practitioner-based research and curriculum design. Examples of this include the use of effective instructional design theory to support learner gain with technology-based resources; the effective use of social media on test anxiety and assessment outcomes; and the role of massive open online course on campus-based undergraduate students and postgraduate healthcare professionals. Most recently, I have developed a novel mixed reality neuroanatomy teaching resource with colleagues from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. 

Here is the video of a recent TedX talk on Technology and Higher Education:


Evaluation framework. This critical advocacy of technology within higher education has led to the development of a holistic evaluation framework. This framework enables the critical reflection and appraisal of technology–based learning resources to support their wider integration and allows for the nuance of confounding variables that educational research often encounters. By utilising user experience analysis, randomised control trials, longitudinal assessment of impact, and cost-benefit analyses, meaningful evidence is obtained to support the effective deployment of such resources. You can access the paper here.


Creator and host of the Anatomy Education PodcastA weekly podcast that interviews leading anatomists, educators, and authors from around the globe on the latest developments and best practice in anatomy education. With over 50 podcasts released, notable guests include: Professor Paul Kirschner from Open University (Netherlands) on educational research, Dr Polly Husman from Indiana University (USA) on Myth Busting Learning Styles, and Professor Claudia Krebs from University of British Columbia (Canada) on the use of virtual reality in higher education. The podcast has recorded over 15,000 downloads since September 2017 and receives sponsorship from the American Association of Anatomists, Adam Rouilly, the International Association of Medical Science Educators and Primal Pictures. Website:; Twitter handle: @AnatEducPodcast.

Online Anatomy Courses and Content

  • Lead anatomy educator for the Massive Open Online Course - Exploring anatomy: the human abdomen. The second University of Leeds MOOC, this three-week course covers the clinical anatomy of the human abdomen. Profiling basic anatomy and clinical correlates, the course has attracted positive feedback and over 50,000 individual learners from its deployment over the past 5 years;

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  • Lead anatomy educator and consultant for Lecturio (Germany), creating three fully online courses on the Anatomy of the Trunk, Upper Limb and Lower Limb. Containing over 15 hours of bespoke material, with associated formative assessments and discussion fora;
  • Access Anatomy YouTube channel. A social media platform that contains over 35 anatomy drawing screencasts that have received over 1 million downloads and 15,000 individual subscribers;
  • Access Anatomy eBook – Abdomen. A freely available eBook that contains anatomy drawing screencasts, bespoke text, clinical correlates and formative questions.


  • BSc (Hons)
  • PhD
  • NTF

Professional memberships

  • International Association of Medical Science Educators
  • American Association of Anatomists
  • British Association of Clinical Anatomists

Student education


I currently teach on the Year 2 ICU Control and Movement (MEDI2201)

Year 2 Assessment Lead

Clinical Anatomy BSc (intercalated):

ANAT3107 – Learning and Teaching in the Anatomical Sciences (module manager)

ANAT3201 – Clincal Anatomy Project (supervisor)

Research groups and institutes

  • Leeds Institute of Medical Education

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>