Aim: To investigate students’ perceptions of using e-models in an inquiry-based curriculum. Approach: 52 second-year dental students completed a pre- and post-test questionnaire relating to their perceptions of e-models and their use in inquiry-based learning. The pre-test occurred prior to any learning with e-models. The follow-up survey was conducted after one year's experience of using e-models. Results: There was no significant difference between the two sets of questionnaires regarding students’ perceptions of the usefulness of e-models and their willingness to use e-models in future inquiry-based learning. Most students preferred using both plaster models and e-models in tandem. Conclusion: Students did not change their attitude towards e-models and most of them agreed or were neutral that e-models are useful in inquiry-based learning. Whilst recognizing the utility of 3D models for learning, students' preference for combining these with solid models has implications for the development of haptic sensibility in an operative discipline.
Objectives: In recent years, the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong have extended the implementation of 3D electronic models (e-models) into problem-based learning (PBL) of the Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) curriculum, aiming at mutual enhancement of PBL teaching quality and the students’ skills in using e-models. This study focuses on the effectiveness of e-models serving as a tool to enhance the students’ skills and competences in PBL. Methods: The questionnaire surveys are conducted to measure 50 fourth-year BDS students’ attitude change between beginning and end of blended PBL tutorials. The response rate of this survey is 100%. Results: The results of this study show the students’ agreement on enhancement of their learning experience after e-model implementation and their expectation to have more blended PBL courses in the future. The potential of e-models in cultivating students’ self-learning skills reduces their dependence on others, while improving their communication skills to argue about pros and cons of different treatment options. The students’ independent thinking ability and problem solving skills are promoted by e-model implementation, resulting in better decision making in treatment planning. Conclusion: It is important for future dental education curriculum planning to cope with the students’ needs, and offer support in the form of software, hardware and facilitators’ assistance for better e-model implementation.