Teaching immunology in the 21st century: a scoping review of emerging challenges and strategies

Merav Siani, Ilana Dubovi, Anna Borushko, Michal Haskel-Ittah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Immunology, a complex and rapidly evolving biological field, serves dual educational goals: training healthcare professionals and immunologists as well as promoting immune literacy among laypeople. This study conducted a scoping review of the literature to explore different aspects of immunology education, examining various contexts, levels, and content areas, including cognitive and motivational challenges. In addition, analysis covered different teaching strategies and research methodologies. Eight hundred and seventy-four articles were screened, and 20 articles proceeded to full-text analysis. Notably, the majority of the analysed studies concentrated on undergraduate education, emphasising strategies for teaching immunology, with a heavy reliance on quantitative research methods. Teaching strategies that were influential for improving the knowledge of the students were, for example, using games, using simulations and visualisations, using hands on experiments and self-directed learning. The content of the reviewed articles primarily revolved around topics related to innate and adaptive immunity, basic immunology, and immune system diseases. There was less emphasis on advanced immunology and on addressing the inherent complexity of the subject and even less on methods to motivate students to engage with immunology. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are described considering both healthcare practitioner training and immune literacy for laypeople.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Early online date7 Jan 2024
StatePublished Online - 7 Jan 2024


  • Immunology education
  • biological mechanisms
  • complex systems
  • immune literacy

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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