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Open Access Research article

Acceptance of technology-enhanced learning for a theoretical radiological science course: a randomized controlled trial

Emeka Nkenke1*, Elefterios Vairaktaris2, Anne Bauersachs1, Stephan Eitner3, Alexander Budach1, Christoph Knipfer1 and Florian Stelzle1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Erlangen University Hospital, Erlangen, Germany

2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Athens Medical School, Attikon Hospital, Athens, Greece

3 Department of Prosthodontics, Erlangen University Hospital, Erlangen, Germany

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BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:18  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-18

Published: 30 March 2012

Abstract

Background

Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) gives a view to improved education. However, there is a need to clarify how TEL can be used effectively. The study compared students' attitudes and opinions towards a traditional face-to-face course on theoretical radiological science and a TEL course where students could combine face-to-face lectures and e-learning modules at their best convenience.

Methods

42 third-year dental students were randomly assigned to the traditional face-to-face group and the TEL group. Both groups completed questionnaires before the beginning and after completion of the course on attitudes and opinions towards a traditional face-to-face lectures and technology-enhanced learning. After completion of the course both groups also filled in the validated German-language TRIL (Trierer Inventar zur Lehrevaluation) questionnaire for the evaluation of courses given at universities.

Results

Both groups had a positive attitude towards e-learning that did not change over time. The TEL group attended significantly less face-to-face lectures than the traditional group. However, both groups stated that face-to-face lectures were the basis for education in a theoretical radiological science course.

The members of the TEL group rated e-mail reminders significantly more important when they filled in the questionnaire on attitudes and opinions towards a traditional face-to-face lectures and technology-enhanced learning for the second time after completion of the course.

The members of the technology-enhanced learning group were significantly less confident in passing the exam compared to the members of the traditional group. However, examination results did not differ significantly for traditional and the TEL group.

Conclusions

It seems that technology-enhanced learning in a theoretical radiological science course has the potential to reduce the need for face-to-face lectures. At the same time examination results are not impaired. However, technology-enhanced learning cannot completely replace traditional face-to-face lectures, because students indicate that they consider traditional teaching as the basis of their education.