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GMS Z Med Ausbild. 2012;29(4):Doc54. doi: 10.3205/zma000824. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Job requirements compared to dental school education: impact of a case-based learning curriculum.

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  • 1Witten/Herdecke University, Faculty of Health, School of Dentistry, Department of Periodontology, Witten, Germany.



Case-based learning (CBL) is suggested as a key educational method of knowledge acquisition to improve dental education. The purpose of this study was to assess graduates from a patient-oriented, case-based learning (CBL)-based curriculum as regards to key competencies required at their professional activity.


407 graduates from a patient-oriented, case-based learning (CBL) dental curriculum who graduated between 1990 and 2006 were eligible for this study. 404 graduates were contacted between 2007 and 2008 to self-assess nine competencies as required at their day-to-day work and as taught in dental school on a 6-point Likert scale. Baseline demographics and clinical characteristics were presented as mean ± standard deviation (SD) for continuous variables. To determine whether dental education sufficiently covers the job requirements of physicians, we calculated the mean difference ∆ between the ratings of competencies as required in day-to-day work and as taught in medical school by subtracting those from each other (negative mean difference ∆ indicates deficit; positive mean difference ∆ indicates surplus). Spearman's rank correlation coefficient was calculated to reveal statistical significance (statistical significance p<0.05).


41.6% recipients of the questionnaire responded (n=168 graduates). A homogeneous distribution quantity of the graduate groups concerning gender, graduation date, professional experience and average examination grade was achieved.Comparing competencies required at work and taught in medical school, CBL was associated with benefits in "Research competence" (∆+0.6) "Interdisciplinary thinking" (∆+0.47), "Dental medical knowledge" (∆+0.43), "Practical dental skills" (∆+0.21), "Team work" (∆+0.16) and "Independent learning/working" (∆+0.08), whereas "Problem-solving skills" (∆-0.07), "Psycho-social competence" (∆-0.66) and "Business competence" (∆-2.86) needed improvement in the CBL-based curriculum.


CBL demonstrated benefits with regard to competencies which were highly required in the job of dentists. Psycho-social and business competence deserve closer attention in future curricular development.


case-based learning; clinical competence; dental education; self-evaluation programs

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