Clinical Case-Based Discussions in Applied Physiology for Dental Students


Cassio Almeida-da-Silva: 0000-0001-9173-7208


Biomedical Sciences

Document Type


Conference Title

American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session and Exhibition


American Dental Education Association (ADEA)


Portland, OR

Conference Dates

March 11-14, 2023

Date of Presentation



Objective: There are many reports on the implementation of the clinical case-based discussion in dental education, but whether the new pedagogical model is going to enhance the learning experiences and outcomes remains to be further validated. The objective of the study is to evaluate students’ participation, learning experience and learning outcomes in a case-based discussion session in the course Applied Physiology. Methods: The clinical case-based discussion was on the physiology of the autonomic nervous system for year one Doctor of Dental Surgery students. The session was composed of pre-class group study and in-class discussion. Students took a post session survey about the learning experience and feedbacks on voluntary and could decide not to participate or discontinue participation in the survey at any time without penalty. Results: 51% students (75/147) took the survey. The majority of students spent 1-2 hours on the cases before coming to the discussion. Most students reported understanding 50-75% of the content and the case-based discussion was somewhat helpful to understand the content. But it appeared that PowerPoint slides was still their most preferred source of information for learning. Most students commented that they really liked the clinical application on cases. Some students would prefer the instructor to liberate more on the foundational knowledge and answer the questions, rather than study the case and figure out the answers through the discussion with the peers. Conclusions: The findings indicated that students favored case-based discussion to link foundational knowledge with clinical application. However, it might be challenging for some students to switch from the instructor-centered teaching in traditional lecture to the student-centered learning in the case-based discussion. It would be necessary for instructors to further emphasize and promote critical thinking through case-based discussion to help students apply foundation knowledge in the clinical application.

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