Comparing face-to-face, synchronous, and asynchronous learning: postgraduate dental resident preferences.J Dent Educ. 2014 Jun; 78(6):856-66.JD
The Department of Dental Medicine of Lutheran Medical Center has developed an asynchronous online curriculum consisting of prerecorded PowerPoint presentations with audio explanations. The focus of this study was to evaluate if the new asynchronous format satisfied the educational needs of the residents compared to traditional lecture (face-to-face) and synchronous (distance learning) formats. Lectures were delivered to 219 dental residents employing face-to-face and synchronous formats, as well as the new asynchronous format; 169 (77 percent) participated in the study. Outcomes were assessed with pretests, posttests, and individual lecture surveys. Results found the residents preferred face-to-face and asynchronous formats to the synchronous format in terms of effectiveness and clarity of presentations. This preference was directly related to the residents' perception of how well the technology worked in each format. The residents also rated the quality of student-instructor and student-student interactions in the synchronous and asynchronous formats significantly higher after taking the lecture series than they did before taking it. However, they rated the face-to-face format as significantly more conducive to student-instructor and student-student interaction. While the study found technology had a major impact on the efficacy of this curricular model, the results suggest that the asynchronous format can be an effective way to teach a postgraduate course.