We aim to understand DMD students’ views on pre-clinical education, in particular clinical simulation. We compare these perspectives with dental simulation literature to extend existing understanding in the curricular area.
Method: All third and fourth year DMD students at a North-American-Institution were invited to participate in Simulation-Teaching-and-Learning-Survey (STL-Survey). 34 fourth-year and 28 third-year students completed the STL-Survey. The first of the four sections gathered information on gender and year-of-study. The remaining questions were developed by (i) consulting two existing surveys, and (ii) looking to the instructional experience and observations gathered at the institution. Embedded in the STL-Survey, students’ perceptions toward various learning modes, interactions with instructor, and the nature and frequency of instructor-feedback are assessed using both Visual Analogue Scales (VAS) and open-ended questions.
Among the 22-VAS-items, the Cronbach’s Alpha of the survey is .89. All survey participants (N=62) responded that the most effective mode of learning is “to-use-3D-Models” (mean=81.5). The least effective mode of learning is “demonstration-by-a-classmate” (mean=51.2). There are statistically significant differences in the perceptions of third- and fourth-year students, suggesting that the interactions with instructors were perceived differently between the two groups. When comparing perceptions between genders (N=56), more male students perceived “drawing-diagram[s]” and “being-asked-questions-about-procedures” as being helpful to their learning than did female students. Female students showed lower agreement than male students with the statement related to “instructor’s-specific-feedback-being-helpful”. Content analysis of the open-ended questions led us to further interpret the quantitative data analysis results.
Our findings on 3rd year and 4th year students’ views on effective learning in clinical simulation provides new understanding in how student’s class culture and gender difference may play a role in simulation-learning. Suggestions are provided to address the issues associated with these findings, which may be helpful to dental curriculum designers.
Keywords: Decision-making, Education research, Learning, Teaching and simulation
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