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Benefits of combined quantitative and qualitative evaluation of learning experience in a gerodontology course for dental students

  • Lamprecht, Ragna1
  • Guse, Jennifer2
  • Schimmel, Martin3
  • Müller, Frauke4
  • Heydecke, Guido1
  • Reissmann, Daniel R.1
  • 1 University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, Hamburg, 20246, Germany , Hamburg (Germany)
  • 2 University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany , Hamburg (Germany)
  • 3 University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland , Bern (Switzerland)
  • 4 University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland , Geneva (Switzerland)
Published Article
BMC Medical Education
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Aug 26, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-020-02196-0
Springer Nature


ObjectivesThe oral health status of long-term care (LTC) facility residents is often poor, and acceptance of dental services by the elderly is irregular and mostly problem-driven. The perceived knowledge gap due to insufficient under- or postgraduate education and training in gerodontology might present a barrier for dentists to provide domiciliary care. This study aimed to develop a high-quality student course in gerodontology.MethodsA total of 52 undergraduate dental students (age: 23.4 ± 2.1 yrs., 81% female) participated in a novel one-year gerodontology course and were included in this prospective study. The course was organized over two semesters, comprising two consecutive modules (one theoretical and one practical). The evaluation after the first semester applied a 16-item questionnaire with an ordinal 6-point response scale ranging from “not satisfied at all” (0) to “very satisfied” (5) for quantitative evaluation, and free-text comments as the qualitative part. These qualitative findings were used for validating the satisfaction questionnaire by triangulation, and to identify potential issues for improving the course. Satisfaction scores of the second evaluation after 1 year were used to assess potential effects of course modifications by comparing the participant satisfaction scores between both evaluations.ResultsSatisfaction scores of 3.6 ± 0.7 after the first semester indicated students’ initial satisfaction. The lowest satisfaction was observed for timeframe (2.6 ± 1.3) and interdisciplinary education (3.0 ± 1.4). The qualitative evaluation confirmed not only the ratings but also provided potential explanations, which were addressed by modifying the course accordingly. The effect of the modifications on participant evaluation was reflected by substantially improved satisfaction scores at the second assessment in 14 of 16 items, with a significant increase in overall satisfaction from 3.6 ± 0.7 to 4.0 ± 0.4 (p = 0.008).ConclusionA combined quantitative and qualitative evaluation is a successful method for developing, evaluating, and improving a gerodontology course for dental students with high student satisfaction.

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