Effects of a Case-Based Discussion on Educational Outcomes in Dental Students

2017-11-01T00:00:00Z (GMT) by Jaime Ann Chowaniec
Purpose: To determine the effects and timing of a case-based discussion on knowledge, preferences, and self-confidence in second-year dental students in a pediatric dentistry course. This study investigated the hypothesis that a case-based discussion, along with a lecture, improves students’ performance on a quiz on specific topics in pediatric dentistry.  The study also explored whether conducting the case before a lecture, as an introduction to new material, or afterwards, as a reinforcement, is more effective for learning. Lastly, the study surveyed students’ preferences and self-confidence. Methods: Using a crossover design, students participated in a case-based discussion either before or after lectures on stainless steel crowns and pulp therapy. For a control unit on space maintenance, no case-based discussion was held. Students took quizzes a week after the lectures and were surveyed on their experiences. Results: Forty-five out of 52 second-year dental students consented to have their scores used in the study. Students performed better on a quiz when participating in a case-based discussion after the lecture (mean score after=6.1, SD 0.9 compared to before=5.5, SD 1.3, repeated measures ANOVA: F=8.68, 1df, P=.005). Improvements in quiz scores were not associated with a case discussion plus a lecture, compared to a lecture alone. Students preferred having the case after the lecture (70% vs 30%,(X^2 =7.7(1df), P=.01) and felt more confident when the case was held after the lecture (12.7 vs 11.6, F=5.6(1,86df), P=.02).  Conclusions: This novel study shows higher quiz scores and self-confidence when a case discussion is held after a lecture, as well as student preference for that timing.