Study Investigates Role of Experiential Service Learning in Dental Education
A recent study explored the use of experiential service learning — an approach that encourages students to apply their knowledge base as well as critical thinking to effectively manage a community health problem — in dental education, focusing on a project that integrates theoretical learning, dental epidemiological investigations, data analysis, creation of scientific oral health education materials, and actual oral health education. The project emphasizes active participation and reflection, aiming to enhance students’ comprehension of specialized knowledge and improve theoretical performance. The findings align with previous research, indicating that experiential service learning fosters active learning, allowing students to apply knowledge to real-world situations and positively impact their community. The study also highlights other benefits including the development of professional and personal skills, improved faculty-student relationships, and its potential contribution to addressing insufficient oral health resources. However, the study acknowledges potential challenges, including inequality of experiences, risks associated with external partnerships, and shortcomings such as consistency checks and evaluation gaps. The researchers suggest improvements, such as effective communication with communities, establishment of multiple partners, hands-on training, and provision of preview materials to enhance students’ understanding. Click here to read more.