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Dental education research

Programme director:

Dr Lee Adam

Understanding how students learn and fostering best practices in teaching

We investigate a wide range of educational activities and experiences in higher education and professional development that pertain to the practice of dentistry in its broadest sense.

In dental education research we study factors affecting learning and teaching. We examine ways to improve educational experience, and seek to improve support for students and teachers. We look for evidence to tell us what is working well, and what needs to be improved.

Education as a theme has a broad scope. Many members of the Faculty of Dentistry are involved in a variety of activities that may fall under the umbrella of educational inquiry. For example, these can range in focus from personal teaching development, to exercises in quality assurance, and curriculum review, to continuing professional development, and to empirical studies.

Broad scope of education projects

Research in dental education focuses on enhancing theoretical and evidence-based policies and practices in teaching and learning. Researchers in the Dental Education Research Programme typically examine educational experiences in the Faculty and other dental education environments in order to foster a positive impact on education in both the clinical and traditional teaching and learning environments. We seek to use research to identify strategies and practices that can improve experiences and support for students and educators, both within the University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry, and in other education environments.

Projects underway include:

  • Investigating whether multifaceted admission processes predict performance of students in two Australasian dental programmes
  • Developing a new model of geriatric dental education
  • Developing reflective practitioners through online video-based self-reflection
  • Problem Based Learning in cariology
  • Oranga niho, oranga tinana, oranga whānau. Investigating the implications of final-year dental student out-placements with Māori Oral Health providers for students, hosts, and whānau
  • Development of a 3D simulation mouth model
  • Stress and mood states of New Zealand dental students
  • Feedback processes in the clinical dental learning environment
  • Professionalism for the undergraduate oral health professional
  • Measuring the attitudes of dental students towards social accountability

More information on these research projects can be found in our Dental Education Research Programme Profile (PDF extract from our 2015-2016 SJWRI Research Report).