|Year : 2018 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 153-154
Emerging trends in postgraduate education
Prof. and HOD, Department of Orthodontics, SRMC, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
|Date of Web Publication||18-Jul-2018|
Dr. Sridevi Padmanabhan
Department of Orthodontics, SRMC, Porur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Padmanabhan S. Emerging trends in postgraduate education. J Indian Orthod Soc 2018;52:153-4
The increasing number of postgraduate (PG) orthodontic programs in the country has led to a large body of student members who form a significant part of the Indian Orthodontic Society. It is small wonder then that many of the activities of the society revolve around events that are designed to benefit, involve and depend on PG participation. On several occasions now, I have heard organizers, speakers, and teachers bemoan the lack of students in PG conventions. While the registrations run to large numbers, the concern is the thinning crowds in the lecture halls, sometimes constituting <10% of the total registered populace.
Paradoxically, I have not seen this problem in smaller conventions/programs that I have either organized or attended, even though the lectures are didactic and progress beyond 8 hours. To what then can we attribute the “curious case of the missing student” in our PG conventions? A small part of the answer might direct us to look at changing trends in education.
Orthodontic education is pretty varied across the country although the dental council of India recommended curriculum provides a common platform nationwide. The standards and quality of training might range from bare minimum to pretty advanced, and perhaps, we are dealing with an audience with different expectations and different levels of training. Unlike Pragnya, which is specifically intended as an orientation for 1st year students or typodont workshops which have specific learning objectives, PG conventions are catering to a mixed crowd.
Concern has been expressed that curriculum needs to keep pace with advances in science and technology. Advances in genetics, molecular biology, three dimensional technology, imaging, superimposition, digital records, computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing among others are just some of the areas which have not really integrated with our current orthodontic curriculum. The Master class by the Academic council of the IOS is a great initiative to train teachers, and the Indian Orthodontic Society could look at incorporating these new facets for the benefit of faculty and by extension to our students. Perhaps a sizeable part of the content in conventions should involve new topics not currently covered in the PG curriculum, and the scope for this is enormous.
As with orthodontics, education technologies are also changing. Globally, competency-based education (CBE) seems to be the trend as opposed to traditional time-based models. While competence is also the goal of traditional models, CBE makes this more explicit and focuses on not what learner “should know” but what they should be “able to do.” The curricular implications derived from this include defining educational outcomes, flexible and individualized learning and valid centralized assessment models. While several of our programs aim at helping the PG navigate the turbulent waters of postgraduation, our programs could also focus on developing competencies for life beyond postgraduation.
It is well recognized that education in a PG course is a learner-centered approach with emphasis on self-directed learning with the teacher acting as a guide and facilitator. Moreover, the psychology of adult learner (andragogy) is different with orientation shifting from content centeredness to one of the problem centeredness. Problem-based learning is another emerging trend in education which involves focused, experiential learning organized around the investigation and resolution of real-world problems. Its merits have been debated not merely in undergraduate but also in PG education.
Communication technologies have made electronic education a possibility for active student-centered learning, and many universities support traditional face-to-face teaching with online educational tools. E-learning is accessible, on demand and can be paced based on the individual's needs. Blended learning is a combination of the traditional and electronic methods. Key studies published on orthodontic education indicate that e-learning classes are at least as good and/or better than face-to-face classroom learning and blended learning is the best method.
A survey published in the JIOS indicates that most post graduate students suffered several concerns during their PG course. In their wish list, they indicated that lectures in PG conventions should be more focused on time management, examination preparation, national and international placement opportunities, clinical tips for future practices, and life improvement seminars. They also opined that the lectures should be focused toward specific academic years and that there should not be too many lectures in too many halls.
The comment on life improvement reminds me of an interesting piece that has been making the rounds on social media. I was intrigued by the use of the oxymoron “benign negligence” and the author extolls its benefits when dealing with children. I wonder if the same applies to our PGs too. With so many programs dotting the PG calendar, some might say we are smothering our students with too much learning. Can too much education be a bad thing?
While biometrics has been suggested as a means of ensuring satisfactory participation, a lofty if slightly unrealistic ideal for organizers and speakers might be” I don't just want you to be there, I want you to want to be there.” I write this editorial with the hope that it would serve as an initiation for an ongoing dialogue and deliberation on how we might achieve this ideal.
“The capacity to learn is a gift; The ability to learn is a skill; The willingness to learn is a choice.”
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