Let’s be honest, how many of us actually paid attention for more than 10 minutes during that post-lunchbreak lecture in college?
It is not just my opinion but the opinion of psychologist Wilbert J. McKeachie, Benjamin, who says that, “When the lecture begins, most students are paying attention, and for most students that attention lasts for about 10 minutes.”
What can we do about this?
Dentistry is unlike any other course. Almost every theoretical thing you learn in a lecture is in some way directly applicable to your patients in the future. I know there are some super intelligent and motivated students out there who excel in every subject, but what about the rest? We have all seen how many students fail in the first year of college. What if we could reduce these failure rates, what if everyone excelled in dental college? Pretty soon we would be seeing good clinicians coming out every year. Well, you might say only theoretical knowledge doesn’t make a clinician good but we all know that the eyes cannot see what the mind doesn’t know. With strong basic theoretical concepts, a dental student will be able to learn practical procedures much more quickly and efficiently, raising the standard of dentists in the country.
So what is the solution?
A revolution is underway in the education industry. The use of videos for health education has risen exponentially in the last decade and more so in the past year when we were all forced to confine to our homes. The medical education field in the west has already started experiencing the benefits of videos for example, Stanford University School of Medicine has collaborated with the Khan Academy to develop and teach the core curriculum using short video clips. More than 140 medical schools in the US have are taking help of educational videos made by an educational YouTube channel called Osmosis. With all the technological advances we have seen develop in the country, it is very easy for dental colleges in India to employ the same techniques.
How can videos help in dental colleges?
1. Flipped classroom model- In the flipped classroom model, the students learn the basic theory using videos on their own and spend class time in more student centric activities like interaction with the lecturer and use of the theoretical concepts in actual dental clinic scenario.
2. Videos can function as “reusable learning objects” (RLOs), that can be accessed and used by any student, anywhere.
RLOs can reduce faculty effort and improve the quality of teaching.
3. Videos can help students in different stages of their career. At the undergraduate level, it can help solidify their basic concepts. In the final year of dentistry when you have too many subjects to juggle along with clinical quotas to be completed, videos can be especially useful. In postgraduation, when you have a large amount of syllabus to cover along with long work hours, thesis to complete, videos to learn the basic subjects is particularly useful.
4. Students can learn at their own pace, rewind, pause and replay the videos anytime.
5. If a student had to skip one of the lectures in college, he can still be on the same page if he watches the videos assigned for that class at home.
These are just few of the many ways videos can be helpful for the students as well as the teachers.
“A lot of textbooks are now giving videos along with the book, videos can help the lecturers teach the students in a better way”, says Dr. R M Lalitha, ex HOD of Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, M S Ramaiah College of Applied Dental Sciences, Bangalore.
Amisha, a final year student from VSPM dental college Nagpur, said “Animated videos help a lot in visualising and understanding the techniques we have never performed”.
How can we integrate videos into our classrooms?
1. Prepare the students – Assign a video that meets your learning objectives either before or after the lecture.
2. If you are playing the video in the classroom, pause the video in between to discuss and ask students for any doubts or to quiz them.
3. Open Video resources: A lot of open resources are available, for example, YouTube. So there are a lot of options to choose from. An example is my own YouTube Channel Toothism which is aiming to simplify dental concepts using whiteboard style animation. You can check out one of the videos here
4. Do it yourself /DIY videos- If the lecturer is interested in making his/her own videos, they should teach themselves in the video making process. They can take help of the students for making the videos, editing the videos, etc. Participation from students in the video making process actually make them learn better too. Kaufman (2003) advocates that ‘‘the learner should be an active contributor to the educational process’’
5. Vodcast !- Vodcasting is a method where a student or anyone else records the PowerPoint slides along with the lecturer’s voice and combines them into a video posted online for student viewing. Vodcasting is a method to enable students to review conceptually difficult material after class and for absent students to learn the missed material.
6. Assign it like homework once in a while- One way to keep students engaged with the learning process.
That being said, my intention for making videos is never to replace textbooks or teachers. A video cannot replace a teacher and high-quality teaching is critical to excellent student performance. So, you if combine the two, teachers who use videos as an adjunct to their lectures, have the most success and in doing so, one dental student at a time, we will be raising the standard of dentists all over India.
- Hurtubise L, Martin B, Gilliland A, Mahan J. To play or not to play: leveraging video in medical education. J Grad Med Educ. 2013;5(1):13-18. doi:10.4300/JGME-05-01-32
- Tackett, Sean MD, MPH; Slinn, Kyle RN, MEd; Marshall, Tanner MS; Gaglani, Shiv MBA; Waldman, Vincent PhD; Desai, Rishi MD, MPH Medical Education Videos for the World: An Analysis of Viewing Patterns for a YouTube Channel, Academic Medicine: August 2018 – Volume 93 – Issue 8 – p 1150-1156
- Joseph Andrews. Online Videos: A New Tool For Medical Education. UBCMJ 2012 4(1):26-27.
- Madrigal, Emilio DO; Mannan, Rifat MD pathCast: An Interactive Medical Education Curriculum That Leverages Livestreaming on Facebook and YouTube, Academic Medicine: May 2020 – Volume 95 – Issue 5 – p 744-750 doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003148
- Dong, C., & Goh, P. S. (2014). Twelve tips for the effective use of videos in medical education. Medical Teacher, 37(2), 140–145. doi:10.3109/0142159x.2014.943709