Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, ISSN - 0973 - 709X

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Dr Mohan Z Mani

"Thank you very much for having published my article in record time.I would like to compliment you and your entire staff for your promptness, courtesy, and willingness to be customer friendly, which is quite unusual.I was given your reference by a colleague in pathology,and was able to directly phone your editorial office for clarifications.I would particularly like to thank the publication managers and the Assistant Editor who were following up my article. I would also like to thank you for adjusting the money I paid initially into payment for my modified article,and refunding the balance.
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Professor & Head,
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Believers Church Medical College,
Thiruvalla, Kerala
On Sep 2018

Prof. Somashekhar Nimbalkar

"Over the last few years, we have published our research regularly in Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research. Having published in more than 20 high impact journals over the last five years including several high impact ones and reviewing articles for even more journals across my fields of interest, we value our published work in JCDR for their high standards in publishing scientific articles. The ease of submission, the rapid reviews in under a month, the high quality of their reviewers and keen attention to the final process of proofs and publication, ensure that there are no mistakes in the final article. We have been asked clarifications on several occasions and have been happy to provide them and it exemplifies the commitment to quality of the team at JCDR."

Prof. Somashekhar Nimbalkar
Head, Department of Pediatrics, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad
Chairman, Research Group, Charutar Arogya Mandal, Karamsad
National Joint Coordinator - Advanced IAP NNF NRP Program
Ex-Member, Governing Body, National Neonatology Forum, New Delhi
Ex-President - National Neonatology Forum Gujarat State Chapter
Department of Pediatrics, Pramukhswami Medical College, Karamsad, Anand, Gujarat.
On Sep 2018

Dr. Kalyani R

"Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research is at present a well-known Indian originated scientific journal which started with a humble beginning. I have been associated with this journal since many years. I appreciate the Editor, Dr. Hemant Jain, for his constant effort in bringing up this journal to the present status right from the scratch. The journal is multidisciplinary. It encourages in publishing the scientific articles from postgraduates and also the beginners who start their career. At the same time the journal also caters for the high quality articles from specialty and super-specialty researchers. Hence it provides a platform for the scientist and researchers to publish. The other aspect of it is, the readers get the information regarding the most recent developments in science which can be used for teaching, research, treating patients and to some extent take preventive measures against certain diseases. The journal is contributing immensely to the society at national and international level."

Dr Kalyani R
Professor and Head
Department of Pathology
Sri Devaraj Urs Medical College
Sri Devaraj Urs Academy of Higher Education and Research , Kolar, Karnataka
On Sep 2018

Dr. Saumya Navit

"As a peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research provides an opportunity to researchers, scientists and budding professionals to explore the developments in the field of medicine and dentistry and their varied specialities, thus extending our view on biological diversities of living species in relation to medicine.
‘Knowledge is treasure of a wise man.’ The free access of this journal provides an immense scope of learning for the both the old and the young in field of medicine and dentistry as well. The multidisciplinary nature of the journal makes it a better platform to absorb all that is being researched and developed. The publication process is systematic and professional. Online submission, publication and peer reviewing makes it a user-friendly journal.
As an experienced dentist and an academician, I proudly recommend this journal to the dental fraternity as a good quality open access platform for rapid communication of their cutting-edge research progress and discovery.
I wish JCDR a great success and I hope that journal will soar higher with the passing time."

Dr Saumya Navit
Professor and Head
Department of Pediatric Dentistry
Saraswati Dental College
On Sep 2018

Dr. Arunava Biswas

"My sincere attachment with JCDR as an author as well as reviewer is a learning experience . Their systematic approach in publication of article in various categories is really praiseworthy.
Their prompt and timely response to review's query and the manner in which they have set the reviewing process helps in extracting the best possible scientific writings for publication.
It's a honour and pride to be a part of the JCDR team. My very best wishes to JCDR and hope it will sparkle up above the sky as a high indexed journal in near future."

Dr. Arunava Biswas
MD, DM (Clinical Pharmacology)
Assistant Professor
Department of Pharmacology
Calcutta National Medical College & Hospital , Kolkata

Dr. C.S. Ramesh Babu
" Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR) is a multi-specialty medical and dental journal publishing high quality research articles in almost all branches of medicine. The quality of printing of figures and tables is excellent and comparable to any International journal. An added advantage is nominal publication charges and monthly issue of the journal and more chances of an article being accepted for publication. Moreover being a multi-specialty journal an article concerning a particular specialty has a wider reach of readers of other related specialties also. As an author and reviewer for several years I find this Journal most suitable and highly recommend this Journal."
Best regards,
C.S. Ramesh Babu,
Associate Professor of Anatomy,
Muzaffarnagar Medical College,
On Aug 2018

Dr. Arundhathi. S
"Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR) is a reputed peer reviewed journal and is constantly involved in publishing high quality research articles related to medicine. Its been a great pleasure to be associated with this esteemed journal as a reviewer and as an author for a couple of years. The editorial board consists of many dedicated and reputed experts as its members and they are doing an appreciable work in guiding budding researchers. JCDR is doing a commendable job in scientific research by promoting excellent quality research & review articles and case reports & series. The reviewers provide appropriate suggestions that improve the quality of articles. I strongly recommend my fraternity to encourage JCDR by contributing their valuable research work in this widely accepted, user friendly journal. I hope my collaboration with JCDR will continue for a long time".

Dr. Arundhathi. S
MBBS, MD (Pathology),
Sanjay Gandhi institute of trauma and orthopedics,
On Aug 2018

Dr. Mamta Gupta,
"It gives me great pleasure to be associated with JCDR, since last 2-3 years. Since then I have authored, co-authored and reviewed about 25 articles in JCDR. I thank JCDR for giving me an opportunity to improve my own skills as an author and a reviewer.
It 's a multispecialty journal, publishing high quality articles. It gives a platform to the authors to publish their research work which can be available for everyone across the globe to read. The best thing about JCDR is that the full articles of all medical specialties are available as pdf/html for reading free of cost or without institutional subscription, which is not there for other journals. For those who have problem in writing manuscript or do statistical work, JCDR comes for their rescue.
The journal has a monthly publication and the articles are published quite fast. In time compared to other journals. The on-line first publication is also a great advantage and facility to review one's own articles before going to print. The response to any query and permission if required, is quite fast; this is quite commendable. I have a very good experience about seeking quick permission for quoting a photograph (Fig.) from a JCDR article for my chapter authored in an E book. I never thought it would be so easy. No hassles.
Reviewing articles is no less a pain staking process and requires in depth perception, knowledge about the topic for review. It requires time and concentration, yet I enjoy doing it. The JCDR website especially for the reviewers is quite user friendly. My suggestions for improving the journal is, more strict review process, so that only high quality articles are published. I find a a good number of articles in Obst. Gynae, hence, a new journal for this specialty titled JCDR-OG can be started. May be a bimonthly or quarterly publication to begin with. Only selected articles should find a place in it.
An yearly reward for the best article authored can also incentivize the authors. Though the process of finding the best article will be not be very easy. I do not know how reviewing process can be improved. If an article is being reviewed by two reviewers, then opinion of one can be communicated to the other or the final opinion of the editor can be communicated to the reviewer if requested for. This will help one’s reviewing skills.
My best wishes to Dr. Hemant Jain and all the editorial staff of JCDR for their untiring efforts to bring out this journal. I strongly recommend medical fraternity to publish their valuable research work in this esteemed journal, JCDR".

Dr. Mamta Gupta
(Ex HOD Obs &Gynae, Hindu Rao Hospital and associated NDMC Medical College, Delhi)
Aug 2018

Dr. Rajendra Kumar Ghritlaharey

"I wish to thank Dr. Hemant Jain, Editor-in-Chief Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR), for asking me to write up few words.
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium i e; into the words and sentences on paper. Quality medical manuscript writing in particular, demands not only a high-quality research, but also requires accurate and concise communication of findings and conclusions, with adherence to particular journal guidelines. In medical field whether working in teaching, private, or in corporate institution, everyone wants to excel in his / her own field and get recognised by making manuscripts publication.

Authors are the souls of any journal, and deserve much respect. To publish a journal manuscripts are needed from authors. Authors have a great responsibility for producing facts of their work in terms of number and results truthfully and an individual honesty is expected from authors in this regards. Both ways its true "No authors-No manuscripts-No journals" and "No journals–No manuscripts–No authors". Reviewing a manuscript is also a very responsible and important task of any peer-reviewed journal and to be taken seriously. It needs knowledge on the subject, sincerity, honesty and determination. Although the process of reviewing a manuscript is a time consuming task butit is expected to give one's best remarks within the time frame of the journal.
Salient features of the JCDR: It is a biomedical, multidisciplinary (including all medical and dental specialities), e-journal, with wide scope and extensive author support. At the same time, a free text of manuscript is available in HTML and PDF format. There is fast growing authorship and readership with JCDR as this can be judged by the number of articles published in it i e; in Feb 2007 of its first issue, it contained 5 articles only, and now in its recent volume published in April 2011, it contained 67 manuscripts. This e-journal is fulfilling the commitments and objectives sincerely, (as stated by Editor-in-chief in his preface to first edition) i e; to encourage physicians through the internet, especially from the developing countries who witness a spectrum of disease and acquire a wealth of knowledge to publish their experiences to benefit the medical community in patients care. I also feel that many of us have work of substance, newer ideas, adequate clinical materials but poor in medical writing and hesitation to submit the work and need help. JCDR provides authors help in this regards.
Timely publication of journal: Publication of manuscripts and bringing out the issue in time is one of the positive aspects of JCDR and is possible with strong support team in terms of peer reviewers, proof reading, language check, computer operators, etc. This is one of the great reasons for authors to submit their work with JCDR. Another best part of JCDR is "Online first Publications" facilities available for the authors. This facility not only provides the prompt publications of the manuscripts but at the same time also early availability of the manuscripts for the readers.
Indexation and online availability: Indexation transforms the journal in some sense from its local ownership to the worldwide professional community and to the public.JCDR is indexed with Embase & EMbiology, Google Scholar, Index Copernicus, Chemical Abstracts Service, Journal seek Database, Indian Science Abstracts, to name few of them. Manuscriptspublished in JCDR are available on major search engines ie; google, yahoo, msn.
In the era of fast growing newer technologies, and in computer and internet friendly environment the manuscripts preparation, submission, review, revision, etc and all can be done and checked with a click from all corer of the world, at any time. Of course there is always a scope for improvement in every field and none is perfect. To progress, one needs to identify the areas of one's weakness and to strengthen them.
It is well said that "happy beginning is half done" and it fits perfectly with JCDR. It has grown considerably and I feel it has already grown up from its infancy to adolescence, achieving the status of standard online e-journal form Indian continent since its inception in Feb 2007. This had been made possible due to the efforts and the hard work put in it. The way the JCDR is improving with every new volume, with good quality original manuscripts, makes it a quality journal for readers. I must thank and congratulate Dr Hemant Jain, Editor-in-Chief JCDR and his team for their sincere efforts, dedication, and determination for making JCDR a fast growing journal.
Every one of us: authors, reviewers, editors, and publisher are responsible for enhancing the stature of the journal. I wish for a great success for JCDR."

Thanking you
With sincere regards
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Ghritlaharey, M.S., M. Ch., FAIS
Associate Professor,
Department of Paediatric Surgery, Gandhi Medical College & Associated
Kamla Nehru & Hamidia Hospitals Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh 462 001 (India)
On May 11,2011

Dr. Shankar P.R.

"On looking back through my Gmail archives after being requested by the journal to write a short editorial about my experiences of publishing with the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research (JCDR), I came across an e-mail from Dr. Hemant Jain, Editor, in March 2007, which introduced the new electronic journal. The main features of the journal which were outlined in the e-mail were extensive author support, cash rewards, the peer review process, and other salient features of the journal.
Over a span of over four years, we (I and my colleagues) have published around 25 articles in the journal. In this editorial, I plan to briefly discuss my experiences of publishing with JCDR and the strengths of the journal and to finally address the areas for improvement.
My experiences of publishing with JCDR: Overall, my experiences of publishing withJCDR have been positive. The best point about the journal is that it responds to queries from the author. This may seem to be simple and not too much to ask for, but unfortunately, many journals in the subcontinent and from many developing countries do not respond or they respond with a long delay to the queries from the authors 1. The reasons could be many, including lack of optimal secretarial and other support. Another problem with many journals is the slowness of the review process. Editorial processing and peer review can take anywhere between a year to two years with some journals. Also, some journals do not keep the contributors informed about the progress of the review process. Due to the long review process, the articles can lose their relevance and topicality. A major benefit with JCDR is the timeliness and promptness of its response. In Dr Jain's e-mail which was sent to me in 2007, before the introduction of the Pre-publishing system, he had stated that he had received my submission and that he would get back to me within seven days and he did!
Most of the manuscripts are published within 3 to 4 months of their submission if they are found to be suitable after the review process. JCDR is published bimonthly and the accepted articles were usually published in the next issue. Recently, due to the increased volume of the submissions, the review process has become slower and it ?? Section can take from 4 to 6 months for the articles to be reviewed. The journal has an extensive author support system and it has recently introduced a paid expedited review process. The journal also mentions the average time for processing the manuscript under different submission systems - regular submission and expedited review.
Strengths of the journal: The journal has an online first facility in which the accepted manuscripts may be published on the website before being included in a regular issue of the journal. This cuts down the time between their acceptance and the publication. The journal is indexed in many databases, though not in PubMed. The editorial board should now take steps to index the journal in PubMed. The journal has a system of notifying readers through e-mail when a new issue is released. Also, the articles are available in both the HTML and the PDF formats. I especially like the new and colorful page format of the journal. Also, the access statistics of the articles are available. The prepublication and the manuscript tracking system are also helpful for the authors.
Areas for improvement: In certain cases, I felt that the peer review process of the manuscripts was not up to international standards and that it should be strengthened. Also, the number of manuscripts in an issue is high and it may be difficult for readers to go through all of them. The journal can consider tightening of the peer review process and increasing the quality standards for the acceptance of the manuscripts. I faced occasional problems with the online manuscript submission (Pre-publishing) system, which have to be addressed.
Overall, the publishing process with JCDR has been smooth, quick and relatively hassle free and I can recommend other authors to consider the journal as an outlet for their work."

Dr. P. Ravi Shankar
KIST Medical College, P.O. Box 14142, Kathmandu, Nepal.
On April 2011

Dear team JCDR, I would like to thank you for the very professional and polite service provided by everyone at JCDR. While i have been in the field of writing and editing for sometime, this has been my first attempt in publishing a scientific paper.Thank you for hand-holding me through the process.

Dr. Anuradha
On Jan 2020

Important Notice

Original article / research
Year : 2022 | Month : October | Volume : 16 | Issue : 10 | Page : ZC43 - ZC48 Full Version

Dental Faculties and Practitioners’ Perception of Virtual Learning as Integral Apparatus in Dental Education: A Cross-sectional Survey

Published: October 1, 2022 | DOI:
Seerab Husain, Arvind Sivakumar, Carles Bosch, Lichi Ashwin Solanki, Prasad Nalabothu

1. Postgraduate Student, Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. 2. Associate Professor, Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. 3. Distinguished Adjunct Faculty, Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. 4. Postgraduate Student, Department of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics, Saveetha Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. 5. Associate Professor, Department of Oral and Craniomaxillofacial Surgery, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Correspondence Address :
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.


Communication, Distance learning, Educational model, Internet

The outbreak of pandemic led World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare a public health emergency of global concern (1). As a result of this global lockdown, there was a decline in outdoor as well as group activities. Amongst the critically afflicted categories were the educational sectors like schools and colleges, which had stopped functioning due to the health crisis (2). Additionally, dental practitioners were among the high-risk groups for the spread of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic through droplets and aerosol (3),(4). This posed a higher risk for the dental practitioners working on patients with dental conditions (5). The global hiatus led to the development of virtual platform and acceleration in its usage by the dental faculties for the students and practitioners. This resulted in teaching and acquiring knowledge becoming easier and within the reach of the palm (6).

Formerly, classroom teaching and traditional face to face interactions dominated the teaching arena with the usage of textbooks, notes, handouts, black/white board teaching (7). Likewise, Dental congresses, Continuing Dental Education (CDE) programs and hands-on workshops were the only modes of learning for practitioners to equip on newer technologies and techniques in the field of dentistry (8). This was replaced with the inception of webinars offered through social media platforms, which have become a primary source for dental education (9).

The pandemic resulted in a rise in adoption of the digital technology and revolutionised the way in which information is spread from one corner of the world to another (10). It was estimated that 88% of youngsters in urban population belonging to the age group of 16 -24 years used social media on a daily basis (11). The increasing popularity and acceptance of online educational programs has pushed teachers across the world to adapt to online teaching.

However, virtual education demands the need for computer skills to keep up with the recent technological trends that come along with these new softwares (12). There is a need of constant upgradation from the teachers’ perspective to cope-up with the ever increasing demands of the students, in terms of content and context of education being provided (13). The usage of virtual platform also comes with certain shortcomings such as the inability to monitor every student individually, lack of two way feedback and internet connectivity issues (14). Getting to know the advantages, challenges and lacunae experienced by dental faculties and dental practitioners in the virtual field of learning would help solidify virtual learning as a viable alternative to the conventional means and also come up with an effective model to conduct an effective virtual education system.

Hence, the aim of this cross-sectional questionnaire study was to evaluate the knowledge, awareness and perception of dental teaching faculties and practitioners about virtual learning as a complementary tool in dental education and understand the shortcomings of virtual education experienced by the dental faculties and practitioners in India.

Material and Methods

The present cross-sectional nationwide survey was conducted across India, through an online software called SmartSurvey, for a period of one month i.e., from June 2021 to July 2021. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University (IHEC/SDC/ORTHO-1905/22/460). Two different sets of questions were made, targeting the dental faculties and practitioners in India. The questionnaire consisted of a series of closed-ended questions with multiple choices, with matrices under certain questions that would lead the participants to the relevant domain and further evaluate the knowledge of the participant, pertaining to that particular question.

Inclusion criteria: Dental practitioners irrespective of the area of specialty, dental faculties currently associated with any dental educational institute and participants who gave consent to taking up the survey were included in the study.

Exclusion criteria: Undergraduate and postgraduate dental students, dental technicians and hygienists, and participants not belonging to dental profession were excluded from the study.

Sample size calculation: Sample size calculation was not done as the number of participants receiving the questionnaire could not be determined, since even the participants were urged to share the link within their professional circle. Moreover, authors did not have control over how many faculties and practitioners actively participated in the survey after receiving the link. All those participants who returned the completely filled online questionnaire properly, were included as sample in the study.


A total of 15 questions for faculties and 17 questions for practitioners were formulated, keeping in mind the length of the questionnaire, simplicity, ease of understanding and the relevance of the questions. The formulated questions were such that they focused on preference of different aspects of virtual learning, advantages, disadvantages, challenges and its future adoptions. The questionnaire was devised by joint discussion between all the five authors of this study, who had periodic online meeting through Skype platform, to discuss about the legitimacy and relevance of the formulated questions. The questionnaire was formulated de novo, without any reference from any previously conducted study. The kappa value obtained was 0.83 which was a good agreement among them.

The face, content and the design of the questionnaire was validated by sharing the questionnaire with 20 random practitioners and 20 random faculties of dental schools, the results of which were not included in the final analysis. Cronbach’s alpha value of 0.875 was obtained, indicating good internal reliability of responses between the validators. The feedback of the practitioners were taken into account for designing the final questionnaire.

The distribution of the questionnaires was done by providing the participants with a link to the survey questionnaire through various electronic media such as emails, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Telegram, Short Message Service (SMS) and through Quick Response (QR) code. Consent was obtained from the participants prior to commencement of the survey and their identities were kept anonymous. Three reminder messages were sent to every participant at a span of one week each to garner maximum participation. The faculties and practitioners were further urged to share the link with their professional circle, in order to achieve maximum reach.

Statistical Analysis

The results were obtained electronically, tabulated in a spreadsheet and were subjected to descriptive statistics using Microsoft Excel software 2019 version 2202. Kappa statistics and Cronbach’s alpha test was done to evaluate the interobserver reliability between the respondents, using International Business Management (IBM) Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 23.0.


A total of 596 responses were received, of which 220 respondents were dental faculties and 376 respondents were dental practitioners. The mean gender distribution of the faculties and practitioners that participated in this study is depicted in (Table/Fig 1).

Dental faculties: Number of faculty participants who had a teaching experience of more than five years was 104 (47.27%). Faculties who had conducted some form of virtual education in the past were n=190 (86.36%), whereas 30 participants (13.64%) had no previous experience of conducting virtual education. One hundred and seventy two (90.53%) of the faculties have used virtual education to address the undergraduate students, whereas 105 (55.26%) have used it for postgraduates. The video platform used by majority of them for dental education in the university was by Zoom (n=157, 82.63%) followed by Google Meet (n=67, 35.26%) and WhatsApp (n=42, 22.11%). The preferred method of virtual teaching by majority of the participants was through webinars (n=168, 88.42%) followed by online tests and exams (n=116, 61.05%) and Journal clubs by students (n=105, 55.26%).

The preferred mode of teaching, for delivering academic content, student supervision and time for preparation of teaching materials is depicted in (Table/Fig 2). One hundred and twenty one (63.68%) of the faculties were of the opinion that classroom learning is better than virtual learning, in terms of interaction with the students. The responses for comparison of virtual and conventional participation in conferences/conventions show that virtual participation is more time saving (n=147, 66.8%), cost effective (n=171, 77.7%) and allows a greater number of participations (n=146, 66.4%). However, it was not better than conventional participation in delivering the scientific content (n=75, 34.1%), audience-speaker interaction (n=114, 51.8%) and it also hampers the social and professional interactions. One hundred and ninety two (87.27%) faculties believe flexibility of time is the biggest advantage, followed the comfort of access from any location (n=189, 85.91%) (Table/Fig 3). Number of participants who believed internet connectivity is the biggest disadvantage of virtual education were 213 (96.82%) (Table/Fig 4). The opinion of teaching faculties on various implementations and future applications of virtual learning is shown in (Table/Fig 5).

Dental practitioners: Out of 376 practitioners, 243 (64.63%) had a clinical work experience of 0-5 years, whereas 70 (18.62%) of the practitioners had 6-10 years of work experience. Two hundred and seventy eight (73.94%) of the practitioners had some form of previous exposure to virtual education programs. Zoom (n=229, 82.08%) was the most commonly used virtual platform for dental education followed by Facebook Live (n=138, 49.46%), GoTo Webinar (n=96, 34.41%) and YouTube Live (n=93, 33.33). The preferred duration and frequency for a webinar as per the respondents was 45 minutes (n=117, 41.94%) and less than one webinar per week (n=126, 45.32%). Majority of the practitioners (n=211, 75.90%) have attended webinars conducted by both national as well as international speakers. WhatsApp (n=235, 84.53%) and Facebook (n=182, 65.47%) were their foremost sources of information related to dental webinar. Updating/refreshing knowledge was the prime reason for 242 (87.05%) practitioners to attend dental webinars. Dental practitioners were of the opinion that virtual participation in conferences/conventions were better than conventional participation as it was more time-saving (n=287, 76.3%), more cost-effective (n=306, 81.4%), more effective in delivering the scientific content (n=114, 30.3%) and allowed a greater number of participants (n=270, 71.8%). However, the respondents also believed that virtual conferences are not better for audience-speaker interaction (n=161, 42.8%), was worse for social interaction between participants (n=166, 44.1%) and hindered professional interactions (n=187, 49.7%). Three hundred and twelve (82.98%) chose the comfort of access from any location as the main advantage of virtual learning, followed by 301 (80.05%) respondents who chose ease of accessibility and 297 (78.99%) participants who chose flexibility of time (Table/Fig 6). The main disadvantage of virtual learning was internet connectivity issue (n=275, 73.14%), followed by organising hands-on workshop (n=266, 70.74%) (Table/Fig 7). The practitioners’ perspective on role of virtual learning in dentistry is given in (Table/Fig 8). Practitioners would prefer virtual as well as conventional mode of learning for continuing dental education (n=247, 65.7%) and dental conferences (n=211, 56.1%).


This questionnaire survey aimed at evaluating the general perception and the preference of the faculties in dental schools and dental practitioners in India regarding the usage of virtual platforms for the purpose of dental education. Previous studies have shown that e-learning has been an effective tool in administering education to students and thereby improving the quality of education (15),(16). Kumar PM et al., in his study states that e-learning could be a revolutionary means of improving theoretical and clinical related advancements (15). Sidpra J et al., in their study urge the educators to see videoconferencing as a powerful tool in delivering educational content during social isolation (16). However, certain challenges faced by students like interaction, duration and modes of education were not evaluated previously, plus there are no studies that have been conducted targeting the education of dental practitioners.

Most of the respondents in this survey had a teaching experience of less than five years, showing that the trend of virtual learning has been widely employed by the young dental faculties. Majority of the respondents had previously conducted virtual education for undergraduates, postgraduates, dental practitioners and specialists, showing that most of them had prior exposure to virtual education. The choices for video conference platforms are in abundance and with the introduction of newer softwares like Kaltura virtual classroom, Vedamo, BigBlueButton, LearnCube, Electra Live and Adobe Connect, it offers faculties a plethora of options to choose from (17). Among the dental faculties, Zoom was the most preferred video platform for delivering university dental education, with Google Meet and WhatsApp being the other most commonly used platforms. Similarly, study conducted by Orloff C has also shown Zoom to have been extensively used in the United Kingdom during COVID-19 lockdown for providing education and lectures for all age groups (18). Few respondents (13.68%) (n=26) had also cited the usage of university customised virtual teaching platform for the delivery of academic content.

In terms of the effectiveness in delivering academic content to the students, both virtual as well as conventional classrooms were equally preferred. However, faculties believed classroom learning was better for student supervision and also believed virtual learning took more time to prepare for a class. This could be attributed to the need for preparation of newer digital learning materials prior to the commencement of every online session and a backup contingency, just in case there were any technical difficulties encountered during online teaching, which would necessitate the need for an alternative teaching method (19). Also, faculties were of the notion that the student-teacher interaction is poor in virtual platforms, as the student is not bound by the close vigilance of the teacher in the same room.

According to the faculties, virtual conference/convention is equally effective to conventional conference/convention in delivering the scientific content. Most faculties feel that the virtual conference/convention is more time saving and more cost effective than conventional conference/convention. This is in accordance with a poll conducted among the participants in the study conducted by Remmel A, (20). On the contrary, faculties believe that virtual conference is not better for audience-speaker interaction, social interaction between the participants and also believe that it hampers their professional interactions, which is in accordance with the study conducted by Woolston C, (21).Another advantage of virtual conferences is that it allows a greater number of participation compared to conventional conference/convention, due to the absence of geographic limitations and the ability of the participants to attend from the comfort of their houses (22).

Among the listed advantages in the questionnaire survey, the main advantage of virtual teaching as reported by the respondents was the flexibility of time. This result was similar to the findings reported by the study done by Mukhtar K et al., who reported the faculties favouring flexibility of time as being the foremost advantage of virtual education (23). One of the major drawbacks reported by the dental faculties while using the virtual platform was inconsistent internet connectivity, which disrupts the continuity of the flow of delivering the educational content. This was also reported by another study conducted by Topor DR and Budson AE (24). Faculties feel that virtual teaching compromises the clinical teaching of a topic by the faculties and also the comprehension of clinical topic by the student. This could be improved in the future by the use of newer innovative teaching methodologies such as virtual and augmented realities. More than 60% faculties feel that virtual teaching should only be used as an adjunct and not as the major mode for future teaching in dental education. Although 89.5% of the faculties say that the virtual teaching was helpful during the lockdown period, majority of them do not want it to continue post-pandemic. This has also been the case in several studies which show that the faculties were more inclined towards conventional classroom teaching than virtual teaching (25),(26). This mindset could possibly change in the future with better adaptation and exposure to newer innovative methods of virtual teaching.

The survey addressing the dental practitioners showed that majority of practitioners had previous exposure to webinars and online classes for continuing dental education, showing high engagement of dental practitioners towards dental education. Most of the dental practitioners had a clinical experience of less than five years, which again showed that the recently graduated dental practitioners were more inclined towards virtual learning. Dental practitioners had most commonly used Zoom video conferencing platform, which was also the case with dental faculties. This was followed by Facebook Live, Go To Webinar and YouTube Live. The latter are used more often as a form of informal means of education. Majority of practitioners acquired their source of information about the webinar, through WhatsApp, Facebook, electronic mail and Instagram. Frequency of online lectures and duration of each session also plays a key role in the success of a virtual educational program (19). Dental practitioners are generally under a time constraint and the time frame for every webinar is a crucial factor in order to get maximum attendance. A total of 41.94% practitioners chose 45 minutes as their preferred duration for a webinar. Majority of practitioners attended 1-3 webinars a week.

Of late, virtual conferences have gained more popularity and acceptance as 30.3% of the practitioners felt it was more effective in delivering the content and 38.5% felt it was equally effective when compared to conventional conferences. Practitioners also believe that virtual conferences were more time saving and cost effective. However, many felt that the audience-speaker interaction was bad and virtual conferences were worse for social interaction between participants.

The main advantage of virtual learning is the comfort of access from any location. Virtual learning is also beneficial in improving the skills in clinical practice. Dental practitioners said that Internet connectivity problems were the biggest disadvantage with virtual learning. Practitioners also believe that virtual learning compromises clinical understanding of a topic. This could be attributed to the lack of hands-on training which is provided in conventional programs. Practitioners said that virtual learning was helpful during the lockdown period (89.1%) and that they wanted virtual learning to continue post pandemic (58.8%).

The discovery of the present study asserts that virtual learning along with class room learning were accepted modes of learning among the dental faculties and dental practitioners. It gives us a valuable insight on the general perception, preference, advantages, disadvantages and limitations of virtual education in delivering the educational content. The virtual learning or e-learning have been widely employed in schools and colleges alike (25). In Spite of having its own limitations and difficulties, virtual teaching could be exploited as an alternative to conventional teaching as it is easier, student and resource friendly. Since studies reporting the effect and role of virtual learning in the dental education of practitioners is scarce, the findings of this study could also act as a guide, based on which an effective and streamlined framework for virtual learning program can be formulated in the future. This would serve not only during lockdown period but also as an adjunct to conventional classroom learning. Resolving unmet challenges like internet connectivity could shape the future of dental education and cater to a vast majority of people by aiding in better planning of future educational programs. Formal training of all faculties on the usage of virtual applications could also be implemented. This would aid in persuading more dental faculties to take up virtual teaching as a mode of delivering dental education.


One of the major limitations encountered during the conduction of this questionnaire survey was the length of survey. The average time taken per participant to complete the survey was in the range of 5-7 minutes. This led to few participants discontinuing the survey midway and resulted in few partially filled responses. Another limitation was the fact that this survey was conducted during the lockdown period, which might have influenced the results in favour of virtual learning. The survey was distributed through various electronic media and was restricted by the available audience who have access to such media. It also relied heavily on distribution through word of mouth and resharing from the participants among their professional circle.


Zoom was the most commonly used platform for virtual education by both dental faculties as well as practitioners and WhatsApp was the main source of information about webinars among practitioners. Flexibility of time and comfort of access from any location were the main advantages of virtual learning. Internet connectivity problem was the main disadvantage of virtual learning and teaching. Majority of teaching faculties prefer virtual teaching as an adjunct to conventional teaching. The acceptance of virtual learning has increased significantly after the lockdown period. 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.


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DOI and Others

DOI: 10.7860/JCDR/2022/57641.17111

Date of Submission: May 08, 2022
Date of Peer Review: Jun 13, 2022
Date of Acceptance: Aug 12, 2022
Date of Publishing: Oct 01, 2022

• Financial or Other Competing Interests: None
• Was Ethics Committee Approval obtained for this study? Yes
• Was informed consent obtained from the subjects involved in the study? Yes
• For any images presented appropriate consent has been obtained from the subjects. NA

• Plagiarism X-checker: May 11, 2022
• Manual Googling: Aug 06, 2022
• iThenticate Software: Aug 09, 2022 (10%)

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