Dental Education Research Group (DERG)

Summary and Principal Aims
The Dental Education Research Group (DERG) was formed by the Faculty of Dentistry to review its curriculum and practice in providing training for future dental practitioners. The DERG was later recognized as new research group under Health and Translational Medicine Cluster in July 2011. Curricular changes coupled with the changing paradigms in dental treatment provide a continual challenge to the dental educator. The DERG aims to answer this challenge by evaluating and improving methods of teaching and learning through research.

Area of Interest
The DERG undertakes research pertaining to dental education including teaching and learning. The areas of interest include dental curriculum review, curricular development and innovation, soft skill development, teaching methodologies and assessment methods. Researches include pre-clinical and clinical teaching at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels for all departments.

Summary of current and planned research:
1. Review of current dental curriculum and its implementation.
The faculty is reviewing its curriculum and implementing the new curriculum. The current curriculum is being reviewed and analysed for its strengths and weaknesses. Feedback from students, lecturers, graduates and their employers will be used in the assessment and improvement of the new curriculum.

2. Assessment of soft skills development strategies within the dental curriculum.
Soft skills teaching is implemented in the dental programme in the problem based learning (PBL) and also in clinical teaching. At the moment the evaluation on students’ soft skills is performed through PBL and indirectly in their clinical assessment. However, the assessment of PBL is difficult as it consists of many components. Students’ awareness and understanding of soft skills is continuously evaluated and proper methods of the application and assessment of soft skill are being developed. The preparedness of the UM dental graduate relative to their hard and soft skills to enter the dental profession is currently being planned.

3. Review and improve the assessment methods
The choice of the most appropriate assessment method has always been debated. Survey and feedback from students, lecturers and graduates will be analyzed and the most appropriate and best method of assessment can be implemented. The competency test is such an assessment tool and the perception of the students and lecturers are to be assessed.

4. Determination of the students preferred method of teaching and learning.
Current method of teaching may not be suitable and student did not have much time to learn by themselves. Therefore, preferred method of learning will be determined from students and graduates so that the curriculum can be developed or innovated to tailor to the students’ preferred methods of teaching and learning. Student-centred learning in competency–based teaching is being focused on to enhance student learning.

Research Group Leader

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Dr. Maria Angela Garcia Gonzalez

Contact details

For further information, please contact us at:
Dental Education Research Group (DERG)
Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya,
50603 Kuala Lumpur MALAYSIA
Tel: +603-79674800
Fax: +603-79674809