A Novel Interactive Online Module in a Traditional Curriculum through a Blended Learning Approach


  • Leslie Laing Gibbard
  • Florin Salajan


e-learning, dental education, computer-aided learning, computer simulation, removable partial denture design


A unique approach was planned and implemented for undergraduate dental students that would reinforce the principles of removable partial denture (RPD) design. 162 students were grouped according to their year of dental studies (66 second‑year students and 96 third‑year students) within the Discipline of Prosthodontics at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto. Previous training for the students consisted of the traditional Socratic approach, including lectures, seminars, and laboratory pre‑clinical hands‑on exercises. During the testing session, all the students were given the case history of a particular patient. One half of each of the classes was instructed to design an RPD using the traditional, clinically‑related approach, with a dental model that could be touched and seen, dental surveyors, and writing instruments. When finished, various treatment options were discussed. The other half of the classes was given the same instructions but saw the dental model only in animated form choices of drop‑down design features made in a particular orderly sequence as the students worked step‑by‑step through the computer simulation. A pre‑test questionnaire was given to all students concerning their design choices, the order in which they chose the denture components, and their learning experiences. All students were then asked to design an RPD for a different but similar case using dental models in the traditional clinical manner. Post‑test questionnaires were given to assess the effectiveness of the method of their pre‑test technique, in addition to their enjoyment of the approach. A cross‑over situation followed one week later, whereby each group of students went through the alternate approach from the previous session. The results from the third‑year student data and implications of this blended approach for teaching and learning RPD design are analyzed and discussed.



1 Dec 2009