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J Dent Educ. 2013 Oct;77(10):1300-5.

An overview of case-based and problem-based learning methodologies for dental education.

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Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Nader A. Nadershahi, University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, 2155 Webster Street, San Francisco, CA 94115;.


Dental education has undergone significant curriculum reform in response to the 1995 Institute of Medicine report Dental Education at the Crossroads and the series of white papers from the American Dental Education Association Commission on Change and Innovation in Dental Education (ADEA CCI) first published in the Journal of Dental Education and subsequently collected in a volume titled Beyond the Crossroads: Change and Innovation in Dental Education. An important element of this reform has been the introduction into academic dentistry of active learning strategies such as problem-based and case-based learning. As an aide to broadening understanding of these approaches in order to support their expansion in dental education, this article reviews the major characteristics of each approach, situates each in adult learning theory, and discusses the advantages of case-based learning in the development of a multidisciplinary, integrated predoctoral dental curriculum.


case-based learning; curriculum reform; dental education; multidisciplinary teaching; problem-based learning

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