BMC Med Educ. 2022 Aug 1;22(1):588. doi: 10.1186/s12909-022-03630-1.
OBJECTIVES: Dental graduates must graduate with high levels of clinical skills. Education in the clinical environment needs to be more than didactic supervision of practice by clinical teachers. Appropriate feedback in this context, is therefore critical to the development of student competence and confidence. This study was conducted to enhance and develop the assessment and feedback processes during clinical sessions in a Dental University Hospital in an effort to contribute to the development of students’ self-assessment skills, reflective ability and clinical competence.
METHODS: A new evidence-based model of feedback was introduced between clinical teachers and dental students. The implementation of this model was evaluated by students through a survey and focus groups. Descriptive and inferential statistics were applied to the quantitative data, while thematic analysis applied to the qualitative data.
RESULTS: Findings from the survey indicated that students perceived the new model of feedback to be a positive addition to their learning experiences. The majority indicated a preference to continue using it. Quantitative analysis also demonstrated that students placed a high value on the feedback they received through the new model and associated it with improved individual performance. Five themes generated from the qualitative analysis echoed the perception that the model of feedback enhanced learning opportunities, especially when it was focused on individual performance and incorporated peer feedback. Students’ preferences in relation to feedback processes were also gleamed from quantitative and qualitative analyses, that is, provision of positive and constructive feedback, both in dialogue and in written formats, delivered during and after each clinical session and addressing their individual competency learning goals for the future. Some challenges to be addressed were also identified (e.g., time constraints, inter-personal issues, and non-conducive environments).
CONCLUSIONS: Feedback is central to learning and remains a complex and challenging area. By adopting effective and evidence-based feedback practices through the introduction of a feedback model, students can be supported in regulating their own learning in the clinical learning environment.