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Importance of online teaching and learning in dental education

La Prensa MedicaISSN: 0032-745X

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Importance of online teaching and learning in dental education

Technology is overcoming all the weaknesses and threats present in our traditional teaching in dental education , Online learning tools with their virtual environments is popular , continously mushrooming among students and expanding the horizon of teaching and learning, making learning possible from anywhere and everywhere. The process of online learning is a combination of edigital resources along with local and global community engagement which is, the virtual learning environment (VLE) concept that is much more broader than computer based learning as there is involvment of internet. Thus, it embraces new thinking associated with new technologies. It combines the communication dimension with the individualised learning experience and fosters communities of learners. The adult learning theory glowing in e-learning is Connectivism which coolaborate, connects and collects intelligence emerging as model theory of learning in the present age that is defined by networks. The is defined as “the set of strategies and cognitive skills developed from individuals contextually to the use the technology ”. however, their effect on knowledge construction is immeasurable. The three major impact technology has made is it acts as a repository for large quantities of data, information and documents of every kind, It is a system for the management of Learning Objects (LMS – Learning Management System) and It provides a virtual environment base, with its irrelevance of the place capability in communication, letting individuals interact and build communities of learners (CSCLS– Computer Supported Collaborative Learning System) and a shared memory (i.e.,shared knowledge basis supporting professional communities of practices, COPs).

The basic concept of online learning is more than 150 years old. This type of learning was initiated through correspondence courses to facilitate learning beyond geographical and time barriers. Actual online learning began with the intranet in 1960, where linked computer terminals were used to provide academic material to students.

With the advent of Internet in 1994, digital literacy spread its wings in academics paving way for formal, accredited online courses and modules. The times have changed in the ways of imparting education in the past 20 years. This can be attributed mostly to the growth and penetration of Internet services inside many households as well as the increase in usage of smartphones.

Medical/dental education also has adapted to these changes and have embraced these online learning platforms with grace. Online platforms are being used more often now by medical schools throughout the world and consist of adaptive tutorials, audiovisual aids, and virtual models. These educational methods possess several distinct advantages over traditional ways of classroom instructions, including the ways to update study material on time to ensure delivery of the latest evidence-based content to trainees.

Online teaching has been stated to be as effective as face-to-face teaching as it allows students to have greater flexibility and control over content and pace of studies. The advent of this new model of teaching has made many medical schools shift toward a “flipped classroom” model for learning [4]. This model is one of the methods of online teaching. In this, the students are told to study beforehand for the topic to be taught online, with the help of digital tools. This model of teaching is making medical educators to revamp their pedagogical toolbox.

There is, of course, a science to teaching: pedagogy. And in the medical education world, we are fortunate to have brilliant professors and researchers who - beyond their medical and scientific training - have taken it upon themselves to earn advanced degrees in education [5]. We have both types of teaching with their advantages and disadvantages. Indeed, online teaching is often a complement to instructor-led methods in a blended approach.

The role of online teaching can be well appreciated in times of difficult situations like war, natural calamities, strikes, pandemics. The world now is reeling under one such pandemic, the COVID-19 disease. Most of the countries are trying their best to fight this pandemic with all the means available. In these testing times, most of the places are under lockdown and it has become difficult for students, including medical/dental, to attend their schools. We did a short study to find out the role of online teaching for dental undergraduates in this pandemic situation.

Therefore, this study aims to assess the usefulness of online teaching for undergraduate students during this Corona pandemic, to point the drawbacks of online teaching, and to learn the areas of improvement in online teaching for future.

To assess the dental students response to Web Based Learning (W.B.L.), a pilot survey was done titled “Role of online teaching during the current Corona PandemicThere will be a learning curve to a new system that will flatten with time and reinforcement of the results from the clinical outcome of education. Many previous scholars have reported that the outcome of web-based learning is comparable to traditional but never superior.The limitation of virtual classrooms is the infrastructural facility limitation at Indian medical/dental schools on short notice.

Online learning is an important tool for learning in this pandemic to an overwhelming majority of students (93%). Digital learning was a by-product of the advancement in science and technology, and its implementation into the academic curriculum was in a phased manner amongst the developing nations across the globe. In the COVID-19 scenario, there was an urgency for imparting e-learning and better acceptancy with present professional students as they are categorized to Millennials or Gen Nexters.

This is one among the many advantages of e-learning noted by other pioneers. The very intention of online teaching in the pandemic is to facilitate health education inspite of a national lockout and students being scattered. The improvement required in the present online lectures the opinion is mainly split between Interactive class and attentive design of the class (39.78% v/s 32.26%). The current data on e-learning globally accounts to blended learning in medical/dental schools. The students are more used to the traditional way of classes and, when suddenly faced with e-learning in pandemic might be missing the face to face interaction with faculty. At the same time, faculty also have to improve e-teaching skills, set educational goals, and use of multimedia efficiently and effectively.

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