Evaluation of a web-based application versus conventional instruction in the undergraduate curriculum of fixed prosthodontics


Dr Christoph A. Ramseier, MAS
Dr. med. dent., Periodontist SSO, EFP
Master of Advanced Studies in Periodontology (MAS)
Assistant Professor
School of Dental Medicine
Department of Periodontology
University of Berne
Freiburgstrasse 7
CH-3010 Bern
Tel: +41 31 632 2540
Fax: +41 31 632 4915
e-mail: christoph.ramseier@zmk.unibe.ch


Aims:  The present study aims to investigate the implications of web-based delivery of identical learning content for time efficiency and students’ performance, as compared to conventional textbook resources.

Materials and methods:  Two cohorts of third year undergraduate dental students in 2003 (n = 35) and 2006 (n = 32) completed the study. Following a baseline pre-test, the students were divided into two groups and given 3 weeks for studying identical content using a web-based application (group A) or a conventional paper manuscript (group B). Post-test, end of semester examination and a final retention test were taken. Test scores and studying time was registered for both cohorts in 2003 and 2006.

Results:  Group A and B knowledge gain was highly significant between the average per cent scores from pre-test, post-test and end of semester examination in both cohorts in 2003 and 2006 (P < 0.005). Group A spent 1.6× (2003) to 2.6× (2006) less time studying than group B. The average total studying time recorded for group B was 5.1 h using 6.2 learning sessions in 2003 and 3.5 h using 4.4 sessions in 2006. With group A, significantly less time was measured for studying through web-based content using an average of 2.5 h over 4.4 learning sessions in 2003 and 1.5 h added over three sessions in 2006.

Conclusions:  Web-based delivery of identical content results in less overall studying time as compared to textbook delivery. These results appear independent of the students’ own preference of the learning medium.