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Effectiveness of technology-enhanced teaching and assessment methods of undergraduate preclinical dental skills: a systematic review of randomized controlled clinical trials

  • Khalaf, Khaled1
  • El-Kishawi, Mohamed1
  • Mustafa, Shahd1
  • Al Kawas, Sausan1
  • 1 University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates , Sharjah (United Arab Emirates)
Published Article
BMC Medical Education
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Aug 28, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-020-02211-4
Springer Nature


BackgroundTo investigate the effectiveness of technology-enhanced teaching and assessment methods of undergraduate preclinical skills in comparison to conventional methods.MethodsA comprehensive search strategy was implemented using both manual and electronic search methods, including PubMed, Wiley, ScienceDirect, SCOPUS, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials. The search and selection of articles that met the inclusion criteria were carried out in duplicates. A Cochrane data extraction form for RCTs was used to extract the relevant information from all included articles. Risk of bias of all included articles was assessed independently by two authors using the Cochrane risk of bias tool.ResultsA total of 19 randomized controlled clinical trials met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review. The majority of the studies included in this review have a high risk of bias mainly due to incomplete data, lack of blinding of the examiners, and due to other biases, such as small sample sizes, not accounting for additional hours of training, and the lack of calibration of examiners grading the preparations. Conflicting results were reported in the included studies with regards to whether there were differences between the intervention and control groups in the outcome measure of quality of students’ performance. A meta-analysis could not be done for this study due to the heterogeneity among the included studies.ConclusionsTechnology-enhanced teaching and assessment tools used in preclinical skills training of undergraduate dental students have the potential to improve students’ performance. However, due to the conflicting outcomes reported in the 19 studies included in this systematic review and their high risk of bias, better quality studies are required to find a definitive answer to the research question of this systematic review.

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