Opportunities and threats of e‑learning in dental education in viewpoints of faculty members: A Mixed method study

Seyed Hosein Tabatabaei, Alireza Mirzaiean, Fatemeh Keshmiri


Background: The aim of the study was to assess the opportunities and threats of e‑learning in dental schools and explore the experiences of dental faculty members in the coronavirus disease‑19 (COVID‑19) epidemic conditions. Materials and Methods: The present study was a sequential exploratory mixed method study (quantitative‑qualitative). In the quantitative phase, a survey study was conducted to investigate the perspectives of faculty members regarding the opportunities and threats of e‑learning during the COVID‑19 epidemic. The data were analyzed by descriptive indicators (frequency, percentage, mean, and standard deviation) and analytical tests (t‑test and analysis of variance). In the qualitative phase, data were collected through semi‑structured interviews. In the qualitative phase, the inductive content analysis approach of Graneheim and Lundman was used to analyze the interviews. Results: In this study, 213 faculty members of dental schools of Iran participated; among whom 100 were men (46.9%) and 133 were women (53.1%). The results indicated the mean scores of the perspectives of faculty members regarding the opportunities and threats of e‑learning in dentistry (4.05 ± 0.49 out of 5). Experiences of the participants in the qualitative phase were explored in the theme of “ups and downs of e‑learning in dentistry” with three categories “unaccountability of e‑learning in dental education,” “challenges of human resource empowerment in the e‑learning process,” and “planned education.” Conclusion: The majority of the faculty members agreed with the use of e‑learning in dental education and considered it as an opportunity. However, educational design for blended learning, creation of appropriate infrastructures, and empowerment of human resources as e‑teacher and e‑student were emphasized as key requirements for e‑learning development in dental schools. Key Words: Coronavirus disease‑19, dental education, dentistry, e‑learning, experience, mixed‑method, perceptions, qualitative

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