Dental Educators’ Perceptions of Educational Learning Domains

Eileen R. Hoskin, David C. Johnsen, Yun Saksena, Zsuzsa Horvath, Tracy de Peralta, Neal Fleisher, Teresa A. Marshall, Cataldo Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to seek the views of a national sample of dental educators regarding the importance of learning domains in dental education, their defined outcomes of those domains, and their perceived effectiveness of their schools in guiding learning in those domains. The study defined the educational domains important for training future dentists as knowledge, technical skills, critical thinking, ethics, social responsibility, and interprofessional education/practice (IPE/IPP). A survey of members of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Special Interest Group on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning was conducted in 2017. In addition to reporting their demographics, participants were asked to rate and rank the importance of each learning domain as well as answer open-ended questions. Of the 89 respondents (response rate 12.5%), 31% were course directors, and 48% had been dental faculty members for more than ten years. Knowledge was ranked as the most important domain, followed by critical thinking, technical skills, clinical decision making, ethics, problem-solving, social responsibility, and finally IPE/IPP. When rating the absolute importance of these domains in the training of dental students, the respondents gave all but IPE/IPP and social responsibility the highest rating. Knowledge and technical skills were rated highest for respondents’ confidence in defining student outcomes with similar high ratings for their confidence in guiding this learning. There was little consensus concerning a definition of critical thinking, and a third of the respondents were uncertain of specific learning outcomes for it. Participants expressed even less confidence in defining outcomes for ethics, IPE/IPP, and social responsibility. This baseline information will be used for a future in-depth study to aid in the development of strategies for articulating outcomes, guiding learning, and assessing performance in U.S. dental schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • academic performance
  • accreditation
  • assessment
  • critical thinking
  • dental education
  • educational measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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