Dental Faculties and Practitioners’ Perception of Virtual Learning as Integral Apparatus in Dental Education: A Cross-sectional Survey
Dr. Arvind Sivakumar,
No. 162, Poonamallee High Road, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
Introduction: The Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic saw a global lockdown being imposed, which restricted dental faculties access to teaching institutes and dental practitioners to continuing dental education programs. However, this resulted in a surge in the usage of virtual learning platforms for imparting and gaining information.
Aim: To evaluate the knowledge, awareness and perception of dental teaching faculties and practitioners about virtual learning as a complementary tool in dental education.
Materials and Methods: A nationwide cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted on the virtual platform (SmartSurvey) among dental faculties and dental practitioners, from June 2021 to July 2021. The questionnaire comprised of different sets of closed-ended questions customised for each group. The survey was validated and dispersed through webbased links and Quick Response (QR) codes to all the dental faculties and practitioners. Descriptive statistics was used for analysing the results.
Results: A total of 596 participants (220 dental faculties and 376 dental practitioners) participated in the survey. Zoom (n=157, 82.63%) was the most popular among the virtual platforms used for dental education. Affability of time (n=192, 87.27%), convenience and comfort of learning from anywhere (n=312, 82.98%) were the main advantages of virtual education. The dominant challenge faced by the participants was the internet connectivity (n=213, 96.82%).
Conclusion: Majority of the faculties and practitioners prefer virtual education as an adjunct to conventional education. The widespread reach of virtual platform can be utilised to effectively deliver the educational content on a global scale. However, a streamlined framework which addresses all the shortcomings commonly faced by the faculties and practitioners is essential to provide a hassle-free virtual learning experience.