Journal of Conservative Dentistry

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2021  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 111--112

Blended learning


Sekar Mahalaxmi 
 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, SRM Dental College, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sekar Mahalaxmi
Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, SRM Dental College, Ramapuram, Chennai - 600 089, Tamil Nadu
India




How to cite this article:
Mahalaxmi S. Blended learning.J Conserv Dent 2021;24:111-112


How to cite this URL:
Mahalaxmi S. Blended learning. J Conserv Dent [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 8 ];24:111-112
Available from: https://www.jcd.org.in/text.asp?2021/24/2/111/327849


Full Text



“Everyone faces challenges in life. It is a matter of how you learn to overcome them and use them to your advantage.”– Celestine Chua.

We are in the 2nd year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The year 2021 has not seen a decline in the pandemic; by January 21, 83 million people have been affected by the virus with more than 1.8 million deaths globally. Added to this, the detection of the variants of the SARS COV 2 virus, referred to as the VOC-202012/01 detected in the UK and the 501Y. V2 found in South Africa and their spread to other countries as well has kept the fear of the pandemic still going in our hearts.[1] Although the challenges continue, the ability to cope with them has improved and we have come to terms with accepting and acting to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, in a parallel world, the strife to keep up educational growth has seen tremendous developments. Information in digital format is available everywhere and to everyone. Educational institutions have adapted to the exclusive online teaching mode with the zeal and enthusiasm of new learners, while the students are unable to decipher as to which is better – missing the campus atmosphere or missing the physical lectures! A survey conducted among medical students comparing the traditional classroom teaching with the online mode of education observed technical problems associated with the IT equipment and lack of attention by the students as major disadvantages. On the other hand, the students felt more at ease with the access of study material at any time in a comfortable environment, learning at their own pace.[2] A systematic review and meta-analysis of online and offline learning in undergraduate medical education did not show any evidence that offline learning is better.[3]

We have been quick to develop methods and strategies that fulfill teaching and learning requirements. Most of these have led to several formalized courses on an exclusive online format. Blended learning, e-learning, m-learning, etc., all different aspects of web-based distance education form the basis of Massive Open Online Courses and seems to be the future of medical education. This will enable the globalization of education, mobility of students, and lifelong learning.[4] Although online learning is a powerful tool, a well thought-out strategy with a more active approach is needed for its implementation into the routine curriculum. The proposed methods need to be tested objectively to understand their effectiveness.[2] Imparting practical expertise to medical and dental students in the virtual mode is still questionable and debatable. Institutions and educators could be interested to document and publish many such innovative methods of online learning in the times to come. Once normalcy returns, whenever that may be, an appropriate balance of offline teaching and online continued learning should be implemented.

Academic gatherings in the form of conferences and workshops, which provided the much needed interactions between faculty and students from different regions, were sorely missed by all during the year 2020 and major part of 2021 as well. Online meetings were never the same but did provide an opportunity to many more to update their knowledge, some of whom would have otherwise missed the chance of attending an on-site event. Our own fraternity in India has witnessed three massive online conferences during this pandemic, IFEA 2020, ACDI 2021, and IFEA 202ONE, which brought the global endo and esthetic community together and allowed the audience to listen to the world's best academicians, clinicians, and researchers from the comfort of their homes and workplaces.

Humans as a race are known to evolve and adapt to any calamity, natural, or man-made. The current pandemic has changed the way of life and taught us lessons in many ways. We hope to evolve with positive lessons from this pandemic and change every challenge to an opportunity.

References

1W. H. O. COVID 19 Weekly Epidemiological. Available from: https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/weekly-epidemiological-update---5-january-2021. [Last updated on 2021 Jan 05].
2Bączek M, Zagańczyk-Bączek M, Szpringer M, Jaroszyński A, Wożakowska-Kapłon B. Students' perception of online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic: A survey study of polish medical students. Medicine (Baltimore) 2021;100:e24821.
3Pei L, Wu H. Does online learning work better than offline learning in undergraduate medical education? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Med Educ Online 2019;24:1666538.
4Da Silva VG, De Souza RM. E-learning, B-learning, M-learning and technical and pedagogical aspects on the new platform trends as massive open online courses. Conf Pap 2019. [doi: 10.21125/iceri. 2016.0239].