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Study finds e-learning as good as traditional training for health professionals

This DT Study Club webinar, titled “Immediate implant placement in a molar extraction socket”, is aimed at implant specialists and restorative dentists. E-learning has become very popular among medical staff in recent years. Webinars can be viewed worldwide from almost any computer or mobile device. The DT Study Club offers live courses, which can also be viewed subsequently, as they are archived on the website. (Screenshot www.dtstudyclub.com)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Wed. 14 January 2015


LONDON, UK: Electronic learning could enable millions more students to train as doctors and nurses worldwide, according to the latest research. A review commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO) and carried out by Imperial College London researchers concluded that e-learning is likely to be as effective as traditional methods for training health professionals. These new findings support the approach to continuing education Dental Tribune International (DTI) has adopted with its free online education platform for dental professionals.

The Imperial team, led by Dr Josip Car, carried out a systematic review of the scientific literature to evaluate the effectiveness of e-learning for undergraduate health professional education. They conducted separate analyses on online learning, which requires an Internet connection, and offline learning, delivered via CD-ROMs or USB flash drives, for example.

The findings, drawn from a total of 108 studies, showed that students acquire knowledge and skills through online and offline e-learning as well as or better than they do through traditional teaching.

E-learning, the use of electronic media and devices in education, is already used by some universities to support traditional campus-based teaching or to enable distance learning. Wider use of e-learning might help to address the need to train more health workers across the globe. According to a recent WHO report, the world is short of 7.2 million health care professionals, and the figure is growing.

The authors suggest that combining e-learning with traditional teaching might be suitable for health care training, as practical skills must also be acquired.

According to Car, from the School of Public Health at Imperial, “E-learning programmes could potentially help address the shortage of healthcare workers by enabling greater access to education; especially in the developing world the need for more health professionals is greatest.”

While the study focused on the education of students, DTI follows a similar approach to continuing education, offering webinars via its Dental Tribune Study Club, which it launched in 2009. The platform regularly offers free online courses and in several languages. The wide range of topics includes general dentistry, digital dentistry, practice management, as well as specialties, such as implantology and endodontology. The webinars are presented by experienced speakers and participants are awarded continuing education credits.

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