Open Journal of Education
ISSN: 2328-4986

Learning Efficacy and Preferences of Dental Students: Teaching “Taking Intra-Oral and Extra-Oral Photographs” using Three Different Teaching Methods

W. Saleh1,*, D. Bister1, S. Markless2, A. Manoharan3

Author Affiliations:

1Department of Orthodontics, Tower Wing Guy’s Hospital, London, UK

2Senior Lecturer at King's Learning Institute, London, UK

3Biostatistician at King’s College London, UK


The aim of this research project was to assess the efficacy and student learning preferences regarding three different teaching techniques. The teaching methods evaluated were MS ™ PowerPoint© presentations, video presentations, and ‘hands-on’ teaching, all involving an orthodontic skill. Thirty dental students were taught an orthodontic task, taking standardized intra-oral and extra-oral photographs. The students were split into three groups: one was taught using a MS ™ PowerPoint © presentation first, the second was taught using the video presentation first and the last group used hands-on teaching first. All groups underwent a multiple-choice test after their first intervention. Subsequent to that all groups were taught the same task using the two methods they had not been exposed to before. Finally, all students were given two questionnaires to evaluate their preferred teaching method and were then interviewed as a group to have an open-ended discussion on learning preferences. The analysis of the results was qualitative. The three teaching methods used were effective at teaching the expected minimum standard: all candidates passed the test. However, students taught using the PowerPoint© presentation and video based teaching yielded higher mean test results, compared to the hands-on teaching group. Interestingly, the students’ favorite teaching method was ‘hands-on’ teaching, followed by the PowerPoint© presentation; video based teaching was the least favorite method. ‘Hands-on’ teaching, the method favored most, yielded the lowest test results. It appears that the students in our cohort preferred to learn the practical skill without particular emphasis on theoretical aspects. Courses are often assessed not only by how well students perform but also by how satisfied they are. Our study confirms that the currently preferred model of instruction for dental students, i.e. practical instructions supplemented with other teaching methods should result in a reasonable balance between student satisfaction and good test results. Students thought that video based teaching may be used as a supplement, but that it could not replace practical teaching.


Dental Students, Learning Efficacy, Learning Preferences, Practical Task Teaching, Powerpoint©, Video Teaching