Bridging the Theory-Practice Gap with Dental Hygiene Instrumentation Videos

J Dent Educ. 2018 Sep;82(9):961-967. doi: 10.21815/JDE.018.095.


Dental educators are challenged to bridge the theory-practice gap to enhance the educational experience and meet the diverse learning needs of students. The aim of this study was to explore dental hygiene students' perceptions of the effectiveness, appeal, and satisfaction regarding instrumentation videos as a resource to improve learning in the clinical environment. All 152 first-year students in a U.S. baccalaureate dental hygiene program at two sites in two consecutive years were invited to participate in the study. Survey questions addressed demographics, effectiveness, appeal, and satisfaction with the instrumentation videos along with open-ended questions to explore students' perceptions of the videos' value and benefits. A total of 143 students completed the survey, for a response rate of 94%. The results showed that 50% to 70% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed with questions relating to effectiveness, appeal, and satisfaction with the videos. Most participants used the videos while practicing (83%). Students who spoke English as a second language were less likely to feel the videos were effective, found them less appealing, and were less satisfied with them (p<0.05). Participants who practiced while using the videos were more likely to report them as being effective and appealing and were more satisfied with the videos than were participants who did not practice with them (p<0.05). Thematic analysis revealed the following themes in the open comments: helpfulness of the videos in clinical practice to clarify, reinforce, and visualize skills learned. These students reported satisfaction with the instrumentation videos, suggesting these learning aids have potential value in closing the theory-practice gap in clinical dental hygiene education.

Keywords: allied dental education; clinical skills; dental hygiene education; dental hygiene students; instrumentation videos; teaching methodology; theory-practice gap.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Dental Hygienists / education*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Professional Practice Gaps
  • Students, Health Occupations / psychology
  • Students, Health Occupations / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching Materials
  • Video Recording*
  • Young Adult