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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 32  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 247-252

An insight on innovative teaching strategies: A cross-sectional survey among the oral medicine and radiology faculties in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India

1 Head of the Deparment, Division of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Rajah Muthiah Dental College and Hospital, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Assistant Professor, Division of Public Health Dentistry, Rajah Muthiah Dental College and Hospital, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Postgraduate, Division of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Rajah Muthiah Dental College and Hospital, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission18-May-2020
Date of Decision26-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance04-Aug-2020
Date of Web Publication29-Sep-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. J Reni Anjalin
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Rajah Muthiah Dental College and Hospital, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, Chidambaram - 608002, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jiaomr.jiaomr_94_20

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Background: Education in recent years has evolved in leaps and bounds. Traditional pedagogical methods may still be useful, but education today revolves more around encouraging the students to awaken their curiosity and desire to learn. Many new methods have emerged using technology in the classroom, giving education a new lease of life allowing us to approach ideas in new ways. Aim: This survey was conducted to assess the awareness of new teaching methods among the Oral Medicine and Radiology (OMR) faculties in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry and their perception towards practice of new teaching methods in dental curriculum. Methods: Purposive sampling was done and self-administered, online questionnaire was sent to the faculties of Oral Medicine and Radiology in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry to collect data regarding the interest and practice of new teaching methods and their perception of new teaching methods towards enhancement of students skills. Results: A response rate of 94.56% was obtained. About 92% of faculty members found that new methods will be effective in dental education but only 56% of teaching faculty felt that it would replace the conventional methods. The faculties agreed that various skills of the students will improve with new teaching methods. Statistically significant difference (P < 0.05) was found among the various designations of OMR teaching faculties and their perception towards enhancing the students skills. Conclusion: Thus, the faculties were aware and accepted that the new teaching methods were the need of the hour to improve students skills, independent learning and engage them in continuous learning.

Keywords: Andragogy, new teaching methods, students skills, teaching faculties

How to cite this article:
Ramasamy S, Pavithran VK, Anjalin J R. An insight on innovative teaching strategies: A cross-sectional survey among the oral medicine and radiology faculties in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol 2020;32:247-52

How to cite this URL:
Ramasamy S, Pavithran VK, Anjalin J R. An insight on innovative teaching strategies: A cross-sectional survey among the oral medicine and radiology faculties in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry, India. J Indian Acad Oral Med Radiol [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Dec 3];32:247-52. Available from: https://www.jiaomr.in/text.asp?2020/32/3/247/296596

   Introduction Top

The health care profession is experiencing continuous changes and modernization. Hence, the educational institutions worldwide are thus seeking to innovate, improve, and make teaching and learning more effective.[1] The new teaching methods thus promote skill based, as well as self-directed learning and knowledge.

The new teaching methods are based on adult education or Andragogy, defined as “the art and science of helping adult learn.”[2] It focuses on self-directed learning, improves self-efficacy, self-motivation, encourage learners to formulate their own learning objectives and evaluate their own learning.[3]

The new method is an interactive teaching methodology, where the teacher strengthens the various skills of the students.[4] The various innovative methods in dental education include flipped classroom teaching method, problem based learning, case-based learning, computer-based e-learning, evidence-based learning, virtual simulation, etc. These new methods enhance the team/collaborative learning, improve student's self-confidence and also enrich their critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, and communication skills.

   Teaching Methods Top

Problem-based learning (PBL)

Barrows and Tamblyn defined PBL as, “the learning which results from the process of working toward the understanding of, or resolution of a problem.”[5] PBL is small-group learning with a student-centered active method, where the learning is based on cases or problems and independent study.[6] In this method, the guide or facilitator has a minimum role. The students are initially presented with a problem usually a case scenario, and then the students take time to define and explore related issues and finally solve the problem.[7] A systematic review of PBL in dental education reveals that it has a positive effect on students' preparedness and their confidence to apply their knowledge in clinical settings, but till date there is no evidence to support the improvement in dental hand skills of the students.[8] Limitations of PBL include challenging implementation, which requires more structured curriculum and requirement of more tutors than traditional teaching methods.[9]

Case based learning (CBL)

It employs clinical cases to link theory to practice through application of knowledge.[10] This is quite similar to PBL, but the guide interacts with students in CBL (guided enquiry), whereas in PBL (open enquiry) the students work on their own. In CBL, the small group learning focuses on problem solving with some advance preparation in the form of discussion by the guide/teacher about the problem, that PBL lacks.[7] It has been used to promote clinical reasoning and to overcome the drawback of less student exposure to specific and unusual cases.[11] A systematic review suggests students and teachers enjoy CBL, as it develops learning, engages and motivates them[12] and improves communication skills and confidence.[13]

Flipped classroom learning/Inverted classroom

It is a pedagogical model, first described by Lage, Platt and Treglia in 2000[14] and then popularized by Bergmann and Sams in 2012.[14] In this, the instructor shares predetermined digital study materials with students, which they go through at home and later they engage in interactive, problem solving activities, and teacher-guided discussion in the classroom,[15],[16] Flipped learning boosts better learning skills, participation, and improves the individual performance of the students.[17]

Evidence-based learning

It includes the use of current scientific evidence for decision making in clinical settings.[18] It helps in effective decision-making skills, forms the basis for research and its application in practice.[19]

Virtual simulators

Simulation combined with technology is becoming popular in dentistry, especially in preclinical training. There are various virtual reality based simulation in dental education include, DentSim simulator; the IGI (Image Guided Implantology) unit, the VRDTS (Virtual Reality Dental Training System), and the IDSS (Iowa Dental Surgical Simulator).[20] These methods improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination of students in pre-clinical settings.[21]

In this changing modern era, the student's perception and way of thinking has also changed that has evolved the educational needs to provide more diverse and interacting methods for teaching and learning. Hence, this study was conducted to assess awareness regarding the new teaching strategies for the betterment of students, among the OMR faculty.

   Aims and Objectives Top

To assess the awareness and perception about new teaching methods employed in dental education among the Oral Medicine and Radiology faculties of various dental institutions in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry.

   Materials and Methods Top

The present descriptive online cross-sectional survey was conducted among the OMR teaching faculties, working in dental institutions of various universities of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Informed consent was sought from all participants through the online survey forms.

Questionnaire development and validation

A self-administered, online questionnaire with one open-ended and eight closed-ended questions consisting of multiple response format was designed through Google forms to obtain the information on demographic details, designation and teaching experience; to know about their interest, recommendation and practice of new teaching methods; their perception towards the enhancement of students various skills and attitude succeeding the incorporation of new teaching methods, and the difficulties that might be encountered while adaptation of the new teaching methods.

The validity of the questionnaire was tested by the staff of Department of Public Health Dentistry by evaluating the face validity, Fleish Kincaid Readability score was 58.2, Aiken's V Index for each item ranged between 0.8 and 1 and Cronbach's alpha was found to be 0.81 (good internal consistency) following a pilot survey conducted among 20 OMR faculties who were not a part of the main study.

Study population

A total of 31 dental colleges, those affiliated to the Tamil Nadu Dr. M.G.R. Medical University, Annamalai University and other Deemed Universities of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry were selected for the survey. A purposive enumeration sampling was done including all the OMR faculties working in these dental colleges in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. Out of the 142 OMR faculties, a questionnaire link was sent electronically to 92 Oral Medicine and Radiology faculties (only those whose phone number was retrievable and contact was established) through “WhatsApp” among which 87 participants responded to the questionnaire (response rate 94.56%).

Data analysis

The data was entered into MS-office Excel and analysed using the statistical package, SPSS version 19 (IBM), and Microsoft Excel. Descriptive statistics of the key variables were reported. Demographic means and frequencies were calculated and Kruskal Wallis H test was used to perform extended analysis. The P ≤ 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant at 95% confidence interval.

   Results Top

In our survey, among the faculty participants, the study population consisted of Professors (34.48%), Associate Professors (34.5%) and Assistant Professors (31.1%) and maximum teaching faculty (37.9%) were with a teaching experience of 5–9 years [Table 1].
Table 1: Distribution of OMR faculties based on Designation and Teaching Experience

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The [Table 2] shows various teaching methods practiced by the faculty members and common methods employed by the faculty were PowerPoint presentation (41.4%) followed by chalk and talk (35.6%), group discussions (20.7%) and case discussions (18.4%). Only a minimal percentage of new teaching methods like role play, online learning, flipped teaching method.
Table 2: Teaching methods employed by OMR faculties

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Most of the teaching faculties were interested in new teaching methods (95.4%). About 92% of faculty members felt that new methods will be effective in dental education but only 56% of teaching faculty felt that it would replace the conventional methods. Among this, 15% of faculty members unequivocally agreed to supplement the traditional teaching methods by 50–59% of new teaching methods.

From the survey, the recommended new teaching methods for undergraduates (UGs) were flipped classroom method and virtual simulators; for postgraduates (PGs) were evidence-based learning and problem-based learning; case-based learning and computer-based e-learning were recommended for both UGs and PGs [Figure 1].
Figure 1: Encouragement of new teaching methods by the faculties

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The most commonly practiced new method among both the PGs and UGs were case-based and computer-based e-learning, where flipped method and use of simulators were least practiced [Figure 2].
Figure 2:Practice of new teaching methods

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Majority (47%) of the teaching faculty agreed that the employment of the new teaching methods will improve the problem-solving skills of the students and 14% disagreed that the critical thinking skills will be enhanced thereafter [Figure 3]. Kruskal Wallis H test was used for extended analysis among the OMR teaching faculty and it was found that various student's skills like understanding the subject (P = 0.01), independent thinking (P = 0.02), critical thinking skills (P = 0.03), clinical reasoning (P = 0.01), communication skills (P = 0.04), and problem solving skills (P = 0.03) were thought to by incorporation of new teaching methods.
Figure 3: Enhancement in students' skills

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Most common difficulties faced by the staff while incorporating the new methods were that it was instructor dependent, time consuming, promotes shortcuts, labor intensive, and had challenging student assessment [Figure 4].
Figure 4: Difficulties faced by faculties

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   Discussion Top

The practice of Oral Medicine is not only directly assigned with conditions of tooth pathologies such as dental caries and periodontal disease, but it includes orofacial manifestation of local disease or a systemic disease. Hence the learning opportunities for Oral Medicine should include various learning as well as teaching styles that help development of adequate clinical reasoning and decision making skills.[22] According to a study, students have suggested need for more interactive and clinical-based teaching for the betterment and improvement of the teaching curriculum of OMR.[23]

Studies have shown that academic achievements rely on the teaching styles and methods employed by the teacher.[24] The teaching method employed by most of the dental colleges is a traditional-based lecture method. Lecture method is a one-way flow method where the students assume a purely passive role and their concentration fades off after 15–20 minutes of the lecture and makes learning ineffective. Brown and Manogue suggested that the involvement of learners is considered as the prerequisite for better professional practice that is achieved by incorporating learner centered effective teaching approach. Hence, to shift from the traditional method to learner-centered innovative approach is the need of the hour.[25]

Though 92% of faculty members feel that the innovative teaching methods are effective in our dental education, most of the faculty members practice conventional teaching methods that include lecture based PPT presentations, chalk and talk, OHP presentations and very few members engage in interactive teaching methods. The flipped classroom method and use of simulators are practiced less on comparing with the recommendation. Hence, awareness on flipped learning method[26] and introduction of virtual simulators in dental education in Indian curriculum is necessary.[27]

Most of the interventional studies on Flipped classroom method,[25] PBL, and CBL suggest they encourage critical thinking, engage students in discussion, enhance self-learning, problem solving skills, decision making and make students speak confidently; and the use of virtual simulators[28] help in developing necessary dental tactile skills. In the present survey, most of the faculties also agreed that various skills of the students improve with incorporation of new teaching methods. The new teaching methods includes small group learning and discussions, it that involve each student effectively in active learning, also enables slow learners to deeper learning and retain the knowledge regarding the subject, thereby improving their performance.[29]

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, to overcome the disadvantages, combination of methods has been incorporated. Hu et al.[14] combined flipped method with PBL suggested it is a better option over the traditional lecture-based classroom. Bisrat Hailemaskel[30] used a comprehensive method incorporating flipped method, team-based learning, and e-learning, case based learning and traditional method. He found that combined with traditional methods, teamwork and flipped classes has a very high acceptance rate by students. In our study, faculty suggested drawbacks like resulting knowledge gap, confusion and promoting shortcuts which can be managed by a combination teaching strategies.

The difficulties like time consumption and labour intensive protocols encountered by faculties while incorporating the new teaching methods should be eased by following a better structured curriculum, participating in comprehensive faculty development training including participation in teaching improvement courses and engaging in self-evaluation.[31]

   Conclusion Top

Most of the Oral Medicine and Radiology faculty of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry are aware and interested in new teaching methods. The new teaching methods will enhance the student's various skills that include critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills, self-efficacy, self-learning and self-monitoring skills. The new teaching methods also pave the way for the students and faculty to engage in continuous learning which is more important for a rapidly changing modern era. The difficulties arising while practicing the new methods should be eased through following structured curriculum, as these new strategies have several advantages.

   Limitations and Recommendations Top

The limitations of the study are that it is a first survey regarding awareness and perception of new teaching methods to be conducted among the faculties of OMR faculties in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. This study design inherently includes the social desirability bias.

The study included only a small sample size thus we recommend future studies to be conducted among a large population. Experimental studies should be carried out incorporating the new teaching methods to evaluate their effectiveness in dental education. Future studies should also focus on the employability of new teaching methods among slow learners.

Ethical considerations

Institutional ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Review Board, (Ethical clearance number: IHEC/587/2019).

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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