How Does Collaborative 3D Screen-Based Computer Simulation Training Influence Diagnostic Skills of Radiographic Images and Peer Communication?

 

This study compares the influence of two learning conditions – a screen-based virtual reality radiology simulator and a conventional PowerPoint slide presentation – that teach radiographic interpretation to dental students working in small collaborative groups. The study focused on how the students communicated and how proficient they became at radiographic interpretation. The sample consisted of 36 participants – 20 women and 16 men – and used a pretest/posttest group design with the participants randomly assigned to either a simulation-training group (SIM) or conventional-training group (CON) with three students in each collaborative group. The proficiency tests administered before and after training assessed interpretations of spatial relations in radiographs using parallax. The training sessions were video-recorded. The results showed that SIM groups exhibited significant development between pretest and posttest results, whereas the CON groups did not. The collaboration in the CON groups involved inclusive peer discussions, thorough interpretations of the images, and extensive use of subject-specific terminology. The SIM group discussions were much more fragmented and included more action proposals based on their actions with the simulator. The different learning conditions produced different results with respect to acquiring understanding of radiographic principles.