The Effect of Force Feedback in a Virtual Learning Environment on the Performance and Satisfaction of Dental Students

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Abstract

Introduction

This study investigated the effect of force feedback (FFB) on student performance in a virtual learning environment (VLE) using the Simodont dental trainer (Moog, Nieuw-Vennep, the Netherlands) and evaluated the students' satisfaction with and without FFB.

Methods

The Simodont dental trainer, which was used as a VLE, was randomly assigned to 101 first-year dental students with no previous experience in cutting a tooth or working in a VLE with FFB. This study was designed as a crossover study. One half of the students practiced without FFB, whereas one half practiced with FFB. Both groups practiced four sessions lasting 45 minutes on a cross preparation. In the fifth session, test 1 was scheduled. After test 1, the same practicing and testing protocol was followed, although the environment was switched. After test 2, participants filled out a questionnaire. For the statistical analysis, only the questionnaires of the students who participated in both tests were processed.

Results

The results of test 1 and test 2 revealed that only students who used FFB were able to pass the tests. The questionnaire outcomes supported the results of both tests; 100% of the students preferred working with FFB.

Conclusions

The results suggest that FFB is important for performance in a VLE and essential for satisfaction.

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