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Developing a pedagogical framework in teaching clinical skills with different dental task-trainer simulators (traditional and technology-enhanced learning): A situated-learning approach

*Please note, this project is self-funded*

Project details

First supervisor: Dr Jonathan San Diego 

Second supervisor: Professor Avijit Banerjee

Third supervisor: Dr Richard Foxton

Duration: 3 years full-time / 4 years full-time (with MRes option) / 7 years part-time

Mode of study: Full-time (preferable) or part-time

Funding: Self-funded

Eligibility: Open to all

Application deadline: Open until a suitable candidate is found

Reference number: 2017/DI/22 

Project description

Clinical skills are taught using different task-trainer simulators such as manikin heads which are typical technologies used in many educational institutions. Virtual reality and haptics are other technologies being explored in training dental professionals to acquire clinical skills. These technologies, however, present a partial representation of clinical environment and experience. In a situated practice, authenticity and experience is key to transfer of learning from these technologies to actual and real-life clinical settings. Observational studies, surveys and interviews will be used to examine the different factors that can contribute to effectiveness of different situated learning approach to teaching clinical skills with simulators.

The situated approach will be designed to make the clinical experience more authentic on three different clinical scenarios to be used as observation sessions (e.g. cavity preparation, crown preparation, root canal treatments) while students are taught and trained with simulators. These will then be compared with the actual clinical settings when students move to the clinic and are observed performing the same treatment. Students will be observed and the observations are examined with respect to their clinical, professionalism and communication skills. This project will develop a pedagogical framework using situated learning when teaching with dental task-trainer simulators. 

Research training

Training can be provided through Research Methods degree.

Person specification

Any applicants with interest in Dental Education and Learning Technology research.

To view entry requirements and further course information, see the Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD

Next steps

How to apply

Please apply online at following these steps:

  1. Register a new account/login
  2. Once logged in, select Create a new application
  3. Enter ‘Dental and Health Sciences Research MPhil/PhD (Full-time/Part-time)' under Choose a programme. Please ensure you select the correct mode of study
  4. Select a start date from the list under Entry requirements on this webpage.

Please note: Applicants must include the project reference number in the 'Research proposal' section of the application.

Contact for further information

Dr Jonathan San Diego (

Professor Avijit Banerjee (

For further information on education research, see Dental Education and Learning Technology research.

Back to Research Projects main page.

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