The Need and Value of Biosciences in Dental Education: Embedding Biosciences into Curricula to Foster Deep Learning and Improve Learning Outcomes and Experiences

Nivan S. Weerakkody

Abstract


It is generally taken for granted that dental education must include basic biosciences in the curricula. However, debate still exists about its usefulness and the best methods to teach it in dental schools. The objective of this paper is to review and explore the arguments surrounding the need for bioscience in a dental curriculum and develop a rationale of curriculum design principles for bioscience dentistry subjects. In this context, an example of the redesign of a dental human bioscience subject at La Trobe University was used. The basic biosciences teach how scientific reasoning can be applied to clinical decision making and provides a framework for solving clinical problems. Competency in applying bioscience principles to clinical problems is best achieved when it is integrated in a clinical context using active learning methods, like a hybrid problem based-learning program. Also, by adopting active learning environments this will encourage a broader range of skills and capabilities like teamwork and communication, attributes that oral health professionals will need in the future. Dental students will be better prepared to learn, understand and apply bioscience concepts if these important curriculum design principles are followed.

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