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J Oral Rehabil. 2010 Dec;37(12):927-40. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2842.2010.02122.x. Epub 2010 Aug 19.

Online learning in dentistry: an overview of the future direction for dental education.

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Faculty of Dentistry, The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.


This paper provides an overview of the diversity of tools available for online learning and identifies the drivers of online learning and directives for future research relating to online learning in dentistry. After an introduction and definitions of online learning, this paper considers the democracy of knowledge and tools and systems that have democratized knowledge. It identifies assessment systems and the challenges of online learning. This paper also identifies the drivers for online learning, including those for instructors, administrators and leaders, technology innovators, information and communications technology personnel, global dental associations and government. A consideration of the attitudes of the stakeholders and how they might work together follows, using the example of the unique achievement of the successful collaboration between the Universities of Adelaide, Australia and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. The importance of the interaction of educational principles and research on online learning is discussed. The paper ends with final reflections and conclusions, advocating readers to move forward in adopting online learning as a solution to the increasing worldwide shortage of clinical academics to teach dental clinicians of the future.

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