Take a moment – learning from each other

Take a moment – wellbeingLauren Long explains why the dental profession should welcome back conferences and exhibitions with open arms.

In-person courses and conferences are finally making a full comeback!

There’s no doubt that we are all incredibly grateful for the fantastic learning opportunities that were on offer when we couldn’t meet face to face. It’s almost become the norm to sit in our house, laptop open, comfy clothes on while learning online. But there really is so much to look forward to now that we can meet again.

As I write this, it is a few days before the Dentistry Scotland Show. And only a matter of weeks until the BSDHT Oral Health Conference and the Digital Dentistry Show.

These are great opportunities to get back out there and interact with the profession.

But are there advantages to live CPD opportunities compared to online?

Difficulties with online learning

We’ve probably all found ourselves watching a webinar or reading information online and feeling like we aren’t really absorbing it all. There are a few reasons for this:

  • The learning environment – we aren’t at our best if there are distractions such as background noise, alerts from our phone, emails. Or if we’re in an environment where we usually relax. Many studies show we are much more likely to retain information in a calm, peaceful environment where we have gone specifically to learn
  • Learning styles – online learning may not suit us all. If you are not a visual or auditory learner, you might find it hard to take in information from a webinar. For example, kinaesthetic learners may need to use equipment before fully understanding techniques
  • Dentistry is a hands-on profession – much of what we do day to day is difficult to learn via online instruction. Now that hands-on courses have resumed, we can add to our existing clinical skills and not just theory
  • Interaction with the educator – especially during small group sessions it is easy to ask questions to the person teaching, therefore gaining more of their knowledge and expertise and greater benefit from the session. It is intimidating or difficult to do the same if there are hundreds of people on a webinar.

Benefits from face to face learning

There are also the many benefits that we gain from interacting with each other:

  • Sharing ideas means we can all learn from our collective knowledge, creating and nurturing relationships
  • Supporting each other in any difficulties that we face and in learning together. Having a strong social circle within our role can make us feel happier and more secure
  • Opens our mind to other possible avenues or extra skills within our role
  • Increases our self-confidence in knowing there are others in the same situation as us and that we are all constantly learning and improving.

Learning can dramatically impact our happiness and wellbeing. Challenging ourselves to complete a course can increase our confidence and feeling of worth. Both in the workplace and our personal lives.

Moving forward, dental education will surely continue with a blended online/offline approach. It definitely feels good to now have the choice.

I’m certainly looking forward to finally meeting the people that I have made connections with online during the last few years and getting back out there!

Catch previous Take a moment articles:

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