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Advances in Medical Education and Practice



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Purpose: The social distancing mandates instituted during COVID-19 pandemic mark the sudden transition in the mode of dental education’s delivery to the virtual instruction. It is vital to assess students’ perceptions towards virtual learning environments, particularly among those gaining education in resource-strained countries. This cross-sectional study aims to assess the perceptions of dental undergraduates towards online education, environment and transferable skills and patient care during COVID-19 in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Materials and Methods: Dental preclinical and clinical undergraduate students from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka were recruited from November 2020 to March 2021 through a 47-item web-based survey consisting of psychometrically valid subscales of Dundee Ready Educational Environment Measure (DREEM) and Transferable Skills Questionnaire. The mean scores of students’ perceptions of learning, environment, and patient care skills were compared among preclinical and clinical students of the participating countries. Results: Of total 930 participants, 44.4% were from India, 26.1% from Sri Lanka and 29.5% responses from Nepal. Sri Lanka reported the highest mean scores across all domains of perception indicative of positive attitude. Clinical students from all participating countries had statistically significantly higher positive perception of transferable skills in patient care as opposed to their preclinical counterparts. On the contrary, perception towards learning was higher among preclinical students as opposed to clinical students. These differences were statistically significant for Nepal and Sri Lanka. Conclusion: The findings of this study underscore the need to develop and implement effective online dental educational interventions to foster academic growth and essential practical skills without compromising academic rigor and continuity in the dental education curriculum.


Academic environment; Dental students; DREEM questionnaire; Educational environment; Online learning


Dentistry | Higher Education | Medical Education | Online and Distance Education

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