Online vs. traditional learning: A comparative analysis of student's responses during COVID-19

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Work (Reading, Mass.)


BACKGROUND: The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic had a major impact on the educational institutes globally and resulted in the transition from traditional educational systems to online electronic learning methods. OBJECTIVE: This study endeavored to address and compare the dental student's understanding regarding the Oral Biology course by assessing their knowledge and skills between the students enrolled during 2020 (online teaching) and 2021 (face-to-face teaching). This study also aimed to assess the perception of dental students regarding the virtual mode of teaching. METHODS: This quasi-experimental study evaluated students from two years, in which a retrospective group of dental students enrolled during the academic year 2020 were compared with a prospective experimental group enrolled during the academic year 2021. Knowledge and skills for both years were compared. This comprised of theoretical and practical component. Students also completed a questionnaire that assessed student's perception regarding online teaching. RESULTS: A total of 98 students of Bahria University Dental College participated. A comparison between grade scores of online and traditional learning groups reported statistically significant differences (p = 0.05*) with regards to short answer question types, viva or verbal questions (p = 0.016*). Strong correlations were observed via the multivariable analysis. All correlations were statistically significant at p < 0.01 level. Learning satisfaction was not satisfactorily observed by the online learning group. CONCLUSION: It can be concluded that despite the disruption that the educational sector had to face due to the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the differences in the subjective domain scores, students appeared to like on-campus teaching more than the online teaching, as most students found online learning to be stressful and were quite unsatisfied. However, the difference in mode of teaching did not affect the knowledge and skills of the dental students.

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