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Assessment of the efficacy of second life, a virtual learning environment, in dental education

Assessment of the efficacy of second life, a virtual learning environment, in dental education

Journal of Dental Education 77(12): 1639-1652

This study assessed the efficacy of Second Life (SL) in delivering lectures and demonstrating clinical procedures. Sixteen students in a dental school in Alexandria, Egypt, volunteered to participate in SL to learn about topical fluoride through lectures and YouTube videos demonstrating the application of fluoride gel. This was followed by face to face (F2F) sessions about pits and fissures sealant including lectures and F2F demonstration. Knowledge improvement was assessed by pre- and posttests; practical skills were assessed by a checklist; and percent scores were calculated. The relation between these scores and some background variables was assessed. Students' satisfaction with and perceptions of SL were also assessed. Knowledge improved significantly after both SL and F2F experiences (p<0.0001 for both). There were no significant differences between SL and F2F in knowledge improvement or skills percent scores (p=0.16 and 0.26, respectively). Knowledge improvement was significantly related to previous experience with SL and previous year grade (p=0.02 and 0.007, respectively) but not to gender. Practical skills scores were not related to any of these three variables. Satisfaction with SL experience was high and not affected by any of the three variables, and the experience was perceived positively. This study suggests that SL can complement traditional F2F teaching, especially for underachieving students and in higher education institutions with problems of increasing numbers of students and limited space.

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Accession: 051667146

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PMID: 24319136

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