Implementation of a Web-Based Patient Simulation Program to Teach Dental Students in Oral Surgery

Carina Kruger Weiner, Maya Skålén, Dick Harju-Jeanty, Robert Heymann, Annika Rosén, Uno Fors, Bodil Lund
Journal of Dental Education 2016, 80 (2): 133-40
The aim of this study was to evaluate a web-based simulation of patients (Web-SP) program on learning skills in clinical reasoning and patient evaluation in the oral surgery education of third-year dental students. A secondary aim was to investigate the program's effect on students' learning, knowledge, and attitudes towards virtual patient simulations. Authentic virtual oral surgery patient cases were created at a dental school in Sweden using the Web-SP platform. The Web-SP program was introduced in a two-hour seminar. A 20-minute pre-seminar test (test A) was administered to assess the students' knowledge of oral surgery prior to experiencing the Web-SP program. Ten days after the seminar, another test (test B) was administered to evaluate the increase in oral surgery knowledge as a result of using the program, and an emailed survey of the students was conducted. Of 70 students in the course, 67 (95.7%) agreed to participate in the study and took test A; of these, 59 (88%) took test B. Of the 59 students who took both tests, 28 (42%) completed the survey. The results of the two tests showed a statistically significant increase in knowledge, which was in accordance with the learning goals (p<0.0001). The survey results showed that the students had a positive attitude towards the teaching method. In this study, Web-SP was found to be a valuable tool for teaching clinical reasoning and patient evaluation in an undergraduate oral surgery education setting by improving learning outcomes in comparison with traditional teaching alone.

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