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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 78-80

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on learning of the undergraduate and postgraduate dental students


Senior Lecturer, Department of Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry, The Oxford Dental College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission26-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance27-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication27-Sep-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Manjaree Talukdar
The Oxford Dental College, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijpcdr.ijpcdr_28_21

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  Abstract 


Background: More than 95% of all countries worldwide reported infections with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 described as coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Therefore, most countries put physical distancing measures (e.g., closing of public, cultural, and educational institutions) in place to decelerate the infection rate. Consequently, dental education at universities worldwide is strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study was done to know the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on dental education.
Materials and Methods: A self-designed, structured, online questionnaire of 22 close-ended questions was generated and distributed among the undergraduates and postgraduate dental students in Bangalore city. A total of 450 forms were sent through online by messages, WhatsApp, and emails. Online consent was obtained before participation in the study and it was mandatory to answer all questions. Data obtained were subjected to descriptive and inferential statistics, and significant proportions were available. The level of significance was considered as P ≤≤≤ 5.
Results: The study showed that in this pandemic, 73.4% of the students feel e-learning as a boon for learning dental students, but 87.1% of students feel classroom lectures are more interactive compared to online lectures. About 12.4% of the students felt difficult to access the Internet for online classes, whereas 87.6% of students had access. Students feel understanding clinical procedures is difficult through e-learning; hence, 83.6% of students search web for better understanding. Almost 92.5% of the students feel they are lacking clinical experience due to online classes.
Conclusion: COVID-19 has definitely affected the world; similarly, it has affected the clinical practice of dental students in dental schools. As education continues through e-learning, still, few students are deprived of education due to access to the Internet.

Keywords: COVID-19, dental students, education, e-learning


How to cite this article:
Manohar P S, Sneharaj N, Shakir A, Talukdar M, Pavana M P. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on learning of the undergraduate and postgraduate dental students. Int J Prev Clin Dent Res 2021;8:78-80

How to cite this URL:
Manohar P S, Sneharaj N, Shakir A, Talukdar M, Pavana M P. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on learning of the undergraduate and postgraduate dental students. Int J Prev Clin Dent Res [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Nov 29];8:78-80. Available from: https://www.ijpcdr.org/text.asp?2021/8/3/78/326829




  Introduction Top


Emergence of novel human pathogens and re-emergence of several diseases are of particular concern. A novel human coronavirus initially referred to as the Wuhan coronavirus (CoV), currently designated as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2, is responsible for the latest pandemic that is affecting human health and economy across the world. On January 30, 2020, the WHO declared the Chinese outbreak of COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern because of its rampant spread, thus posing a high risk to countries with vulnerable health systems. According to the WHO situation report (May 14, 2020) update on COVID-19, there have been more than 42,48,389 reported cases and 294,046 deaths worldwide.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] A recent publication in the Journal of Dental Research discussed some challenges that dentists and dental education will face due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-learning is defined as learning that makes use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The incorporation of technological resources and innovative education strategies has transformed the teaching and learning processes. New multimedia tools have driven significant social and cultural changes in modern society. These resources have allowed the maintenance of the student–teacher relationship in real time, differentiating it from distance learning.[6],[7],[8],[9],[10] ICTs potentiated the flow of information in remote educational environments, allowing the student, an interacting individual, to break hierarchical knowledge. Previous studies have shown various e-learning and online learning tools that are effective for teaching and learning in the fields of health profession, including dentistry. During COVID-19, these online learning tools were boon for learning. The present study was done to know the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on dental education in Bangalore.


  Materials and Methods Top


A self-designed, structured, online questionnaire of 22 close-ended questions was generated and distributed among the undergraduates and postgraduate dental students in Bangalore city. This study was performed from May to June 2020. Study participants were the first, second, third year, and final years of undergraduate students and first, second, and third years of postgraduate students at the Oxford Dental College, Bangalore, India. The online questionnaire was given at the end of semester. They were strongly encouraged to fill out the questionnaire, but their participation remained voluntary. All procedures performed in the study were conducted in accordance with the ethics standards given in 1964 Declaration of Helsinki, as revised in 2013. The study proposal was submitted for approval and clearance was obtained from the ethical committee of our institution. A written informed consent was obtained from each participant. A total of 450 forms were sent through online by messages, WhatsApp, and emails. Online consent was obtained before participation in the study and it was mandatory to answer all questions. The questionnaire consisted of questions pertaining to e-learning and classroom teaching, access to Internet, student's ability to understand the subject through e-learning, and whether students were willing to continue with e-learning in future too.


  Results Top


In the present study, results showed that in this pandemic, 73.4% of the students feel e-learning as a boon for learning dental students [Figure 1], but 87.1% of students feel classroom lectures are more interactive compared to online lectures. About 12.4% of the students felt difficult to access the Internet for online classes, whereas 87.6% of students had access. About 79.6% of the students felt that interaction is less with teachers due to online lectures [Figure 2]. Students feel understanding clinical procedures is difficult through e-learning; hence, 83.6% of students search web for better understanding. Almost 92.5% of the students feel they are lacking clinical experience due to online classes [Figure 3]. About 75.3% of students felt that e-learning should be continued after pandemic and that a combination of classroom teaching and e-learning is a good option.
Figure 1: Responses to perception of online learning

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Figure 2: Responses to teacher's ability to interact

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Figure 3: Responses to limitations of e-learning in contrast to classroom teachings

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  Discussion Top


Growing evidence claims that e-learning is as effective as traditional methods. A review investigating the barriers and enablers of e-learning concluded that distant education might enhance learning and performance due to its flexibility and accessibility. Some studies have demonstrated higher satisfaction with e-learning methods and reported that many medical students find e-learning gratifying.[2],[5],[8] Similar results from a study conducted in Italy demonstrated that e-learning has been appreciated by students and professors in terms of teacher–student interactions; nonetheless, clinical training cannot be totally replaced by remote activities. Comparatively, our students seem to appreciate online lectures and forum case discussions which might be due to the interactive nature of these components. However, this is a self-perceived satisfaction that does not necessarily reflect higher performance. Many studies have shown that dental students are usually confident in carrying out procedures safely; nevertheless, they felt somehow unprepared and still relied on some sort of supervision. Navigating the challenges associated with this sudden shift, faculty members thrived to obtain the necessary training to use online platforms, yet not everyone has the same level of technological expertise.[11],[12],[13],[14],[15] Suddenly, e-learning rose from an optional rudimentary choice to the only alternative at hand. Dental institutions are now facing a defiant era with new guidelines implicated to ensure the safety of the dental team. Our responsibilities lie not only within providing adequate education but to make sure our students are competent to face the new work challenges. Clinical training cannot be substituted entirely by distant learning; therefore, the setting must be modified to allow a safe working place. With the lower clinical exposure, our mission remains to ensure effective training. Personal protective measures must be applied to the highest standards. Patient triage and the use of SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests for staff, students, and patients might prove beneficial for the sustainability of the workflow. While the identification of the asymptomatic positive patient remains a challenge, also research validation of these serological tests is warranted.


  Conclusion Top


The results in our study showed that students partially appreciated the new system with e-lectures and discussion forums; however, they still believe that it was not a substitute for face-to-face clinical practice and they acknowledge missing many educational experiences. Future research of new pedagogic methodologies is warranted.

Acknowledgment

We would like to convey our heartfelt gratitude to the Head of the Department Dr. Priya Subramanium for the continuous support of our study and research.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Venkatesh S, Rao YK, Nagaraja H, Woolley T, Alele FO, Malau-Aduli BS. Factors influencing medical students' experiences and satisfaction with blended integrated E-learning. Med Princ Pract 2020;29:396-402.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Quinn B, Field J, Gorter R, Akota I, Manzanares MC, Paganelli C, et al. COVID-19: The immediate response of European academic dental institutions and future implications for dental education. Eur J Dent Educ 2020;24:811-4.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Huynh R. The role of E-learning in medical education. Acad Med 2017;92:430.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Gillett-Swan J. The challenges of online learning: Supporting and engaging the isolated learner. J Learn Des 2017;10:20-30.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Li Y, Wang Y, Jiang J, Valdimarsdóttir UA, Fall K, Fang F, et al. Psychological distress among health professional students during the COVID-19 outbreak. Psychol Med 2021;51:1952-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Ali K, Cockerill J, Zahra D, Qazi HS, Raja U, Ataullah K. Self-perceived preparedness of final year dental students in a developing country – A multi-institution study. Eur J Dent Educ 2018;22:e745-50.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
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Ray M, Milston A, Doherty P, Crean S. In their own words: Investigating the preparedness of final year dental students in the UK for independent general dental practice. Br Dent J 2018;225:340-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Schlenz MA, Schmidt A, Wöstmann B, Krämer N, Schulz-Weidner N. Students' and lecturers' perspective on the implementation of online learning in dental education due to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19): A cross-sectional study. BMC Med Educ 2020;20:354.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
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Regmi K, Jones L. A systematic review of the factors-enablers and barriers-affecting e-learning in health sciences education. BMC Med Educ 2020;20:91.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Ruiz JG, Mintzer MJ, Leipzig RM. The impact of E-learning in medical education. Acad Med 2006;81:207-12.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
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Fontaine G, Cossette S, Maheu-Cadotte MA, Mailhot T, Deschênes MF, Mathieu-Dupuis G, et al. Efficacy of adaptive e-learning for health professionals and students: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open 2019;9:e025252.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
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Sadeghi R, Sedaghat MM, Sha Ahmadi F. Comparison of the effect of lecture and blended teaching methods on students' learning and satisfaction. J Adv Med Educ Prof 2014;2:146-50.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
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Zitzmann NU, Matthisson L, Ohla H, Joda T. Digital undergraduate education in dentistry: A systematic review. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020;17:E3269.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
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Sahu P. Closure of universities due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): Impact on education and mental health of students and academic staff. Cureus 2020;12:e7541.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
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McLoughlin J, Zijlstra-Shaw S, Davies JR, Field JC. The graduating European dentist-domain I: Professionalism. Eur J Dent Educ 2017;21 Suppl 1:11-3.  Back to cited text no. 15
    


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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]



 

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