Saudi Journal of Oral Sciences

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-

Taking dental education online – A path to effective blended learning and learner equity


Sharat Chandra Pani 
 Division of Paediatric Dentistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sharat Chandra Pani
Division of Paediatric Dentistry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, London, ON
Canada




How to cite this article:
Pani SC. Taking dental education online – A path to effective blended learning and learner equity.Saudi J Oral Sci 2021;8:1-1


How to cite this URL:
Pani SC. Taking dental education online – A path to effective blended learning and learner equity. Saudi J Oral Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Jun 22 ];8:1-1
Available from: https://www.saudijos.org/text.asp?2021/8/1/1/313923


Full Text



The COVID-19-related lockdowns and restrictions have seen a rapid increase in the number of courses delivered online. Dental educators all over the world have been forced to adapt to the challenges posed by the delivery of content online. While the initial move to online content delivery might have been viewed as a temporary measure, it is more likely that we are witnessing a paradigm shift in online dental education.

The concept of online education is not new, and the idea of distance education has been around for over half a century. Yet, dental educators have always considered dentistry to be a unique discipline, and the move toward online delivery of content has always been viewed with a mixture of caution and concern. There is just cause for this concern as dentistry is, after all, as much art as science. The challenges presented in shifting the teaching of dexterity-based skills online at first glance seem unsurmountable. Yet, the idea of moving dental education online is rooted not in the replacement of traditional physical contact hours but instead in a blend of contact and virtual teaching that makes contact hours more efficient. Blended learning implements the mixture of online content delivery with the use of laboratory or clinical time to allow students to practice these skills and/or discuss them with their instructors. The integration of established learning techniques such as the bridge-in, learning objective, pretest, participatory learning, posttest, and summary model with learning management systems (LMSs) has offered educators the ability to create effective models for blended clinical education.[1]

However, for this blended learning model to be sustainable beyond the pandemic, it needs to be equitable. While simple video conferencing apps are effective at bringing the class together and holding a traditional “lecture,” the quality of the asynchronous component depends on the availability of an online LMS.[2] There have been several papers published during the pandemic that have shown the use of relatively inexpensive platforms in innovative ways that do not require large bandwidth. The growth of dental webinars and virtual dental conferences has also meant that students and researchers have been freed from the budgetary restrictions that traditionally hampered exposure. In many ways, the online modules of education have, perhaps inadvertently, created a truly equitable classroom.

References

1Pani, SC, Vieira, LA. Integrating online learning management systems to dental simulation clinics: An example of blended learning in pediatric dentistry. J Dent Educ 2020;[online ahead of print]:1-4. [doi: 10.1002/jdd.12381].
2Formicola AJ, Bailit HL, Weintraub JA, Fried JL, Polverini PJ. Advancing dental education in the 21st century: Phase 2 report on strategic analysis and recommendations. J Dent Educ 2018;82:eS1-32.