Application of distance learning to interactive seminar instruction in orthodontic residency programs.Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop. 2007 Nov; 132(5):586-94.AJ
A series of experiments involving 3 orthodontic departments has shown that distance learning can be acceptable to residents and effective in teaching concepts that are fundamental to orthodontic practice.
Residents in each department participated in distance seminars, clinical conferences, and clinical seminars via high-speed Internet connections. The acceptability of this form of instruction was judged from evaluation forms completed by the residents. Its effectiveness was judged from pretests and posttests on the seminar topics.
The improvement from pretest to posttest scores after observing a sequence of distance seminars was similar to that with direct instruction. Orthodontic residents rated the educational experiences positively. Live participation in seminars via video conferencing was preferred to live observation or later observation of a recording, but observation provided similar improvement in test scores.
The acceptability of the distance seminars appeared to be influenced by the instructor's personality and teaching style in facilitating interaction, the seminar subject, the residents' comfort level in dealing with this technology, and the sequence for interaction vs observation. Further development of recorded seminars with live follow-up discussions has the potential to supplement instruction in graduate orthodontic programs and help with the impending shortage of experienced full-time orthodontic faculty.