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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2019  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36-39

Blended classroom versus traditional didactic lecture in teaching oral surgery to undergraduate students of dentistry program: A comparative study

Faculty of Dentistry, SEGI University, Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Date of Web Publication27-Feb-2019

Correspondence Address:
Dr. J Sylvia Western
Faculty of Dentistry, SEGI University, No. 9, Jalan Teknologi, PJU5, Kota Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jioh.jioh_295_18

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Aims and Objectives: The objective of the study is to compare blended classroom methodology with the traditional didactic lecture for teaching dental undergraduate students. Methodology: This cross-sectional comparative study was conducted on 45 year 5 bachelor of dental surgery students at a private university in Malaysia. Students were divided into two groups. One group was assigned for a traditional didactic lecture and the other group for blended classroom methodology using “flipped class.” Lecture notes containing a PowerPoint presentation and related videos on the topic “Odontogenic Infections” were uploaded 1 week before in the university intranet, which was made accessible to students of the blended group, followed by an interactive classroom session. For the other group, a traditional didactic lecture was arranged by an oral surgeon using the same PowerPoint and video. An assessment was conducted for students in both groups 1 week later, and scores were compared. Data were analyzed using IBM SPSS 21. Chi-square and Student's t-test were used. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: A significant difference was found in posttest knowledge assessment between the two methods. While traditional didactic lecture showed a mean of 5.2 correct answers, the blended method showed a mean of 9.5 correct answers (P < 0.001) out of ten. Furthermore, the percentage of students with correct answers was more in the blended method as compared to the traditional lecture. Conclusion: The present study concluded that the flipped method was better than traditional lecture in teaching dental undergraduates.

Keywords: Blended classroom, flipped class, odontogenic infection, oral surgery

How to cite this article:
Paul S A, Priyadarshini H R, Fernandes B, Muttalib KA, Western J S, Dicksit DD. Blended classroom versus traditional didactic lecture in teaching oral surgery to undergraduate students of dentistry program: A comparative study. J Int Oral Health 2019;11:36-9

How to cite this URL:
Paul S A, Priyadarshini H R, Fernandes B, Muttalib KA, Western J S, Dicksit DD. Blended classroom versus traditional didactic lecture in teaching oral surgery to undergraduate students of dentistry program: A comparative study. J Int Oral Health [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Nov 30];11:36-9. Available from:

  Introduction Top

The focus of the present education system is moving toward being more student-centric from that of teacher-centric.[1] A new buzzword in the world of student-centric education is the concept of the blended classroom, mostly using a flipped learning or flipped classroom method.[2] The flipped classroom is based on the notion of “less is more.” It is a pedagogical approach in which the focus is shifted from the traditional direct didactic teaching and providing content, to engaging the students actively with the content.[3] Leveraging on the internet, the content of the course can be provided on an online learning platform, and the students are expected to study the materials before coming to the classroom.[4] The classroom can thus be transformed into a dynamic, interactive learning environment where the teacher facilitates and guides students, as they explore and apply concepts and engage creatively in the subject matter.[5]

The field of dental education is also undergoing changes with new methods and tools being introduced to effectively teach the dental undergraduates.[6] Although there is no single standard method for teaching dental procedures to the students, a study conducted regarding the same showed that demonstration with small group discussions was better than other methods.[7] The flipped class could give that extra time for small group discussions, as students would have already prepared for the class from the material provided previously to them. Hence, this study was undertaken to find out if blended learning was better than traditional didactic lecture in teaching dental topics to the undergraduate students of dentistry program in an oral surgery scenario.

  Methodology Top

This cross-sectional comparative study was conducted among 45 year 5 undergraduate students of Dentistry program at a private university in Malaysia. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Institutional Ethical Committee (SEGI/EC/2016-17/FOD/S-07). All students of year 5 were invited for the study, and therefore universal sampling was used. Written consent was obtained from the participants. Forty-five students in the class were divided into two groups, Group A and Group B, comprising 22 and 23 students, respectively. Group A was assigned for the Flipped method and Group B for the traditional lecture. All the students consented to be a part of the study and none were absenting on the day of the study.

For the students in Group B, a 1 h lecture on the topic “odontogenic infections” was taken by an oral surgeon. The lecture was delivered using a PowerPoint presentation and a video of a procedure related to the same topic, which was prepared by an oral surgeon. For Group A, the same PowerPoint and video were uploaded on the university e-learning site - “Blackboard.” Access to the video and PowerPoint presentations were provided to only the students in Group A. All the students in Group A were asked to go through the video and presentation before attending the interactive session. After 3 days of uploading the content, a 1 h interactive session was held for students of Group A to discuss and clarify their doubts if any.

A week later, a surprise test was conducted among students in both groups on the topic of odontogenic infection, without any prior notification. The test consisted of 20 Objective Structured Practical Examination type questions which were designed using “Kahoot!,” which is a classroom response system which creates an engaging learning space, through a game-based digital pedagogy. Kahoot! is an easy-to-use blended learning platform which works on any device, making the classroom interactive. It can be easily used on a smartphone using a game pin without the necessity to download any software. Students were asked to answer the questions by pressing the correct option out of the answers. Results were automatically generated at the end of the study in terms of the percentage of students answering correctly for each question. Students' scores were then entered in IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, version 22 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). Mean number of correct answers for each question between two groups were analyzed using independent sample t-test. The percentage of correct answers was compared using Chi-square test. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

  Results Top

A total of 45 students participated in this study with 23 in traditional lecture group and 22 in the blended method group. All (100%) of them were familiar with using the computer, downloading materials from the internet and saving it on their systems, and also, 100% of the participants had smartphones with them.

[Table 1] shows the mean number of correct answers among students of the two groups as assessed by the post knowledge test. A statistically significant difference was seen between the two groups in terms of mean correct answers wherein the blended group had 9.5 mean correct answers as compared to 5.2 in traditional lecture group (P < 0.001).
Table 1: Comparison of mean number of correct answers among students of the two groups

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[Table 2] shows the percentage of correct answers for each question among students in two groups (P < 0.05 in all questions). The percentage of correct answers showed significant variation between the students of two groups. While more than 75% of students in blended group could answer all the questions correctly, only about 65% of the students in traditional lecture group could answer only about 50% of the questions correctly. This difference was significant with P < 0.05.
Table 2: Comparison of the percentage of correct answers among the two groups

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[Table 3] shows the feedback from the students in the blended group. About 90% of the students in blended group agreed that they had a better learning experience with blended methodology and about 70% of them were willing to attend more blended classrooms in future.
Table 3: Feedback of students in blended group

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  Discussion Top

The influence of internet on dental education over the past few years has been significant.[1] In addition to this, more learner-centered activities with new theories of learning have paved way for increased options for teaching and learning.[8] Although e-learning has been existing since many years, blended learning is relatively new, in which e-learning has been introduced as an aid to traditional didactic teaching. In 2010, the U.S Department of education reported that instruments combining online and face-to-face elements were more effective than either alone. Blended learning may involve either the integration of online and face-to-face experience in the classroom or replacement of face-to-face classroom experience with the online activity. However, a clear vision for a blended learning initiative is necessary for better learning. Although a lot of systematic reviews are available on educational methodologies, it does not concern teaching undergraduates in dentistry exclusively.[9] Hence, the present study was undertaken to access the feasibility of such methodology in dentistry.

This study was conducted as a pilot study to standardize the methodology, based on which a larger study was to be planned involving students of other years and faculties. In our study, we used a flipped class model for the blended group. The flipped classroom is a blended learning model in which student's access foundational contents online before the class time thus enabling lecturers to engage students in group discussions or collaborative activities during class. The main objective is to achieve a more student-centric learning experience. The role of the lecturer/instructor is changed from deliverer of the content to more that of a mentor/guide, thus resulting in a higher level of interaction between the facilitator and learner.[10]

The topic of odontogenic infection was selected as we felt that oral surgery is relatively difficult to understand as it involves many procedures which are better understood through demonstrations and discussions rather than mere didactic lectures. We assumed that repeated viewing of procedures and reinforcement of theoretical aspect would increase the understanding and retention of the subject matter. The power point presentation was prepared exclusively for the study purpose keeping in mind the online delivery of the contents. Hence, important points were highlighted with different color and size of the font. The primary outcome was the percentage of students answering the highest number of questions among both groups.

Overall, the present study results were better for flipped classroom method as compared to traditional lecture, rejecting the null hypothesis. Post knowledge test results showed significant differences among students in two groups. More than 75% of students in the blended group could answer all the questions correctly as compared to about 65% of students who could answer only about 50% of questions correctly in the traditional lecture group. Mean number of correct answers in blended group was also higher as compared to the traditional group. A similar result has been observed in some studies conducted previously;[11],[12],[13] however, none of these studies conducted were related to topics in oral surgery.

When results were further analyzed according to the type of question, it was found that questions which needed to be answered with the help of photograph or picture were not well answered by the students in traditional lecture group as compared to the students in blended group. This could be probably due to the reason that they had seen it only once during the lecture, unlike the other group who had gone through the lecture material several times followed by an interactive session in which they could discuss and clarify their doubts. The post knowledge test was deliberately conducted a week later without any prior notification to the students to check their understanding and level of retention, which was found to be better among students in the blended group. The other advantages of blended learning as found by other studies include increased levels of active learning, higher order thinking, creativity, and critical thinking.[14]

In our study, a positive feedback was given by the students regarding the blended method. More than 90% of them agreed that they had a better learning experience and were willing to attend more blended classrooms in future. Studies conducted in the past have also reported a positive feedback from the students.[15] However, 87% of the students also felt that it is time-consuming, similar to a study conducted previously.[16]

  Conclusion Top

The blended method was found to be better than traditional lecture in teaching the oral surgery topic to the dental undergraduates and hence can be successfully used on computer literate students. However, this was a pilot study with a small sample and the results cannot be generalized. More elaborate studies are required in the same direction to reach definite conclusions.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Pahinis K, Stokes CW, Walsh TF, Tsitrou E, Cannavina G. A blended learning course taught to different groups of learners in a dental school: Follow-up evaluation. J Dent Educ 2008;72:1048-57.  Back to cited text no. 1
Milman NB. The flipped classroom strategy. What is it and how can it be best used? Distance Learn 2012;9:85-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Pahinis K, Stokes CW, Walsh TF, Cannavina G. Evaluating a blended-learning course taught to different groups of learners in a dental school. J Dent Educ 2007;71:269-78.  Back to cited text no. 3
Varthis S, Anderson OR. Students' perceptions of a blended learning experience in dental education. Eur J Dent Educ 2018; 22: e35-41.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kumar A. Critical review: E-learning and blended learning in orthodontic education. APOS Trends Orthod 2017;7:188-98.  Back to cited text no. 5
  [Full text]  
Handal B, Groenlund C, Gerzina T. Dentistry students' perceptions of learning management systems. Eur J Dent Educ 2010;14:50-4.  Back to cited text no. 6
Omar E. Perceptions of teaching methods for preclinical oral surgery: A comparison with learning styles. Open Dent J 2017;11:109-19.  Back to cited text no. 7
Hussain F, Leinonen E, Millar BJ. Blended learning and an exploration of student expectations on a master's prosthodontics programme with reassessment at five years. Br Dent J 2018;225:441-7.  Back to cited text no. 8
Liu Q, Peng W, Zhang F, Hu R, Li Y, Yan W, et al. The effectiveness of blended learning in health professions: Systematic review and meta-analysis. J Med Internet Res 2016;18:e2.  Back to cited text no. 9
Reavley NJ, Morgan AJ, Fischer JA, Kitchener B, Bovopoulos N, Jorm AF, et al. Effectiveness of eLearning and blended modes of delivery of mental health first aid training in the workplace: Randomised controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry 2018;18:312.  Back to cited text no. 10
Durham JA, Brettell S, Summerside C, McHanwell S. Evaluation of a virtual anatomy course for clinical undergraduates. Eur J Dent Educ 2009;13:100-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Farah CS, Maybury T. Implementing digital technology to enhance student learning of pathology. Eur J Dent Educ 2009;13:172-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
Gibbard LL, Salajan F. A novel interactive online module in a traditional curriculum through a blended learning approach. Electron J E Learn 2009:7:301-8.  Back to cited text no. 13
Herreid CF, Schiller NA. Case studies and the flipped classroom. J Coll Sci Teach 2013;42:62-6.  Back to cited text no. 14
Kavadella A, Tsiklakis K, Vougiouklakis G, Lionarakis A. Evaluation of a blended learning course for teaching oral radiology to undergraduate dental students. Eur J Dent Educ 2012;16:e88-95.  Back to cited text no. 15
Al-Zahrani AM. From passive to active: The impact of the flipped classroom through social learning platforms on higher education students' creative thinking. Br J Educ Tech 2015;46:1133-48.  Back to cited text no. 16


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]

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