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Keywords:

  • blended learning;
  • asynchronous learning;
  • synchronous learning;
  • dental curriculum;
  • student-centred learning;
  • self-directed learning

Abstract

Purpose

The current study tested the hypothesis that a blended learning curriculum would develop competency in both pre-clinical laboratory and didactic learning with less direct supervision than in a traditional curriculum, and be positively accepted by both the students and the faculty. With the ability to efficiently deliver course material electronically came the ability to blend the traditional delivery of course material with an asynchronous approach involving online lecture presentations and online laboratory demonstrations.

Methods

The class was divided into two groups with bench space available to accommodate self-paced learning. All audio-visual and written support materials for both didactic and laboratory procedures were provided to the students at the beginning of the semester on a DVD. These materials included online access through the Blackboard Learning System™.

Results

Students' performance and satisfaction in the course as well as the supporting faculty response to the course were very favourable to the new blended curriculum.

Conclusions

Making use of the technologically advanced environment, the blended curriculum fostered student-focused learning to develop the didactic and laboratory skills necessary for competency in a pre-clinical setting.