Exploring Dental Students’ Perceptions of their Clinical Learning Environment: A Qualitative Study to Evaluate the Curriculum

Olabisi Hajarat Oderinu, Mobolanle Balogun, Helen Pugsley

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Abstract


Learning in a clinical environment is central to a health professionals’ educational journey including Dentistry. Implementation of curriculum within the clinical learning environment (CLE) prepares dental undergraduates for professional practice. Evaluation is an important part of curriculum design which provides the evidence to support improvements and continuous development. Engaging learners in evaluation process creates a learner centered approach which has well documented benefits to inform educators if learning needs are being met from their perspective.  To explore dental student’s perceptions of their CLE to evaluate the implementation of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) curriculum. Four focus groups were undertaken with a total of 16 participants to explore their learning experiences. Students were asked to identify what they perceived as enablers and barriers which affect their learning and make suggestions for improvement. Transcripts of audio data were thematically analyzed, coded and themes identified. The themes identified related to teachers’ attributes and improvements in physical facilities that enable their learning and pressure to perform the required quantity of clinical procedures, perceived inadequate supervision of chairside teaching, and lack of specific feedback on performance.  Suggestions for improvements provided useful insights on issues related to perceived challenges. Learning could be improved by exploring quality of consultations over quantity to mitigate low patient availability, lack of treatment materials to meet clinical procedure requirements, and utilising simulation to gain valuable experience. Finally, developing small units of dental communities of practice (CoP) to facilitate learning opportunities could enhance the learner’s experience.

Keywords


Dental undergraduate, Clinical learning environment, Evaluation of curriculum, Communities of practice

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References


Oderinu, O.H., Balogun, M., & Pugsley, H. (2024). Exploring dental students’ perceptions of their clinical learning environment: A qualitative study to evaluate the curriculum. International Journal of Research in Education and Science (IJRES), 10(2), 279-298. https://doi.org/10.46328/ijres.3364




DOI: https://doi.org/10.46328/ijres.3364

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Copyright (c) 2024 International Journal of Research in Education and Science

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International Journal of Research in Education and Science (IJRES)
 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Editor: Wilfried Admiraal, The Netherlands

Place of Publication: Turkey & Name of Publisher: Ismail Sahin

ISSN: 2148-9955 (Online)