Final Submission Summary

Image by geralt from Pixabay

The impact of an interactive online module in the annual training and preparedness of staff in the dental programs

The focus of this study was to examine how to design an interactive online module to be used in the annual training and preparedness of dental staff  to improve training outcomes if they are unable to attend the annual face-to-face training. The development of the online module is in response to a need identified by the project sponsor. By considering the TPACK framework, there were specific decisions made to ensure an effective and efficient module design. To aid with knowledge retention, engagement and motivation, clear, relevant, and easy to understand content, interactive questions with immediate feedback, video, audio, and text were incorporated.  Another consideration was to employ technology which is easy to use and navigate, and is accessible anytime, anywhere on any device.

To recruit participants for the study, an email invitation was sent to 31 staff (7 coordinators, 10 full-time and 14 part-time) on the dental health team. The 10 clinical staff who volunteered completed a pre-module survey, the training module and a post-module survey. Qualitative data was collected from the pre- and post-module surveys.

The data results and feedback demonstrated that the DLR was effective in meeting required learning outcomes of the training. However, they also revealed that although most (80%) participants perceived that the module was well-designed to replace face-to-face interactions, some (20%) felt that it would not replace the face-to-face experience due to their learning preference of “learning by doing” (Survey Respondent, April, 2020), and felt that the module can be used to provide foundational knowledge for a hands-on experience. The data emphasized the importance of tailoring the DLR to user needs and preferences.

Conducting this modified action research was valuable to the researcher because it allowed for an opportunity to obtain feedback from dental staff that would contribute to the development of a better module design for the next cycle in the action research. In addition, the collection of feedback from the dental staff provided opportunities to learn about and directly experience a “research to practice dynamic” (Cumming, Strnadova, & Singh, 2014, p. 171).

Eight recommendations emerged for consideration in the next phase of this work as part of the ongoing action research project, which were (a) list learning outcomes and expectations at the beginning of the module; (b) use clear instructions for easier navigation through the content; (c) use content which is clear, concise, easy to understand and relevant; (d) employ easy-to-use technology that can be integrated into the teaching of content, and is easy to navigate; (e) use multimedia, like videos, audio, graphics appropriately; (f) use interactive questions with immediate feedback; (g) consider the learning needs of the audience; and (h) continue to use an action research lens for this type of project on online modules or virtual courses.

From a training perspective, this study emphasizes the need to further investigate options, such as the use of VR in delivering content that would address the needs of a kinesthetic learner. Another next step in the training of dental staff, would be the addition of other modules such as the use of the fire blanket or eye wash station to the Articulate platform used for this project. Therefore, all required training modules could be accessed on one platform. From here, the next phase in the action research would involve developing training for the students. As a result, the student perspective would be examined to ensure that the design of the module is suitable to their learning needs and preferences, and to ensure the learning outcomes of the module are being met. This will help to align the knowledge among the staff and students in an emergency situation if it were to occur. Lastly, further work in knowledge retention of emergency equipment and protocols for dental staff may be required to ensure proper conduct during an emergency situation three to six months after the interactive online training module was first completed.

Based on the literature reviewed as part of this research study, there appears to be a gap of research conducted in the dental clinical setting. This study can help to ensure calibration in knowledge amongst dental staff regarding safety training in the lab and clinical settings which, in turn, will benefit students and patients that we serve.


Cumming, T.M., Strnadova, I., & Singh, S. (2014). iPads as instructional tools to enhance learning opportunities for students with developmental disabilities: An action research project. Action Research, 12(2), 151-176.

Unit #3 – Blog Post #4

Design Decision #4 – Participants

Participants will be needed to take part in pre- and post-module surveys; however, how many should I recruit?

At the beginning, it was the idea to choose six dental staff to participate in the study. However, upon discussions with the sponsor and the academic advisor, a purposeful sample of ten participants were selected to ensure an adequate sample size for the modified action research, and to meet time constraints of the project and requirements of the blanket ethics for the MA course that this research was required to be conducted. Purposeful samples are samples where each group is homogenous and are examined within these groups (Ames, Glenton, & Lewin, 2019). Therefore, clinical staff, including clinic coordinators; part-time staff, and full-time staff were selected as a representation of the different roles’ perception of the DLR. Non-clinical staff were not chosen for this study, since they did not partake in the face-to-face training sessions and would not be able to give insight on this particular topic.

To recruit participants for the research project, it was decided to send an email to the target population to invite eligible dental health staff to voluntarily participate. Eligibility in this research project included participants that were over the age of 18, not of a vulnerable population, and were able to give consent. The target population were informed that participants in the study would be provided with a token of appreciation, a $15 dollar Tim Horton’s gift card, for their volunteered time. If a participant chose to withdraw from the study at any point, they would still receive the gift card as a token of appreciation for their time.

Since a state of emergency was declared in the province on March 17th, 2020, this meant that all in-person classes were suspended until further notice. This gave faculty an opportunity to transition face-to-face delivery to online which began on March 23rd, 2020. Because of this, the recruitment process was delayed by three weeks which led to a lower number of part-time staff who participated in the study.


Ames, H., Glenton, C., & Lewin, S. (2019). Purposive sampling in a qualitative evidence synthesis: A worked example from a synthesis on parental perceptions of vaccination communication. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 19(1), 1-9. doi:10.1186/s12874-019-0665-4


Unit #2 – Blog Post #3

Design Decision #3 – How Do I evaluate the design of the module?

There were two options to consider to conduct the data collection – via online survey or face-to-face interview. Creswell (2012) explains that a web-based questionnaire is a method where extensive data can be collected quickly from participants anytime, anywhere. Thus, from discussions with the academic advisor and the sponsor, it was decided that the implementation of online surveys would be suitable. This was an appropriate decision due to the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The participants will be able to complete the surveys while at home.

The type of survey design chosen for this study was the cross-sectional, which “examine[s] current attitudes, beliefs, opinions, or practices” (Creswell, 2012, p. 377). The pre-module survey includes demographic questions to get participants comfortable Both surveys includes open-ended questions, while the post-module survey includes yes/no/please explain questions. Creswell (2012) states that by utilizing open-ended questions in qualitative research, it allows the participants to present their most unrestricted perspective.

Rugg and Petre (2007) indicate that if the list of questions does not address the significant concerns, proper responses will not be obtained. The user experience and needs, and the TPACK framework informed the development of the survey questions to capture the perception towards usability of the module and answer the research questions.

After a discussion with the academic advisor, an additional question to confirm participant’s consent was then added to both surveys.

Both surveys were designed on the Microsoft Forms platform because it is user-friendly, easy to use for survey design and it formats responses in an Excel spreadsheet for easier initial analysis.


Creswell, J. (2012). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative     and qualitative research (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson. Retrieved on January 4, 2020, from

Rugg, G., & Petre, M. (2007). A Gentle Guide to Research Methods. McGraw-Hill Education



LRNT 692 – Unit #1 – Blog Post #2

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Design Decision #2 – Why use a variety of formats in the design of the online module?

For this blog post, thoughts around the design of an effective interactive online training module for dental health staff will be discussed.

As mentioned in the previous blog post, dental health staff have participated in face-to-face sessions for training. For this modified action research project, the use of an interactive online training module will be explored; however, how can it be designed to ensure that it engages the staff enough for them to meet their learning outcomes?

Studies have shown that digital learning resources may enhance learning due to instructional methods that incorporate a variety of formats, including audio, video, text, interactive exercises and questions with immediate feedback (Arbaugh, 2005; Sitzmann, Kraiger, Stewart, & Wisher, 2006, as cited in Becker et al., 2014; Francis, Mauriello, Phillips, Englebardt, & Grayden, 2000; Kavadella et al, 2013). Additionally, having the various formats activates multiple senses, which increases knowledge retention and learner engagement (Koller et al., 2008; Schwaninger, 2004, as cited in Gupta & Sahoo, 2015). Kavadella et al. (2013) explain that when the learning outcomes are clearly outlined and relevant, and the digital resources are designed to promote critical thinking, the learners’ needs will be achieved. Moreover, research shows that the use of teaching modules and self-tests is an effective and acceptable method of learning (Jackson, Hannum, Koroluk, & Profitt, 2011). Taking the aforementioned into consideration, the online learning option might benefit our staff more than the current practice of having them read a fact sheet and complete a survey to demonstrate that they read it.

This design decision will explore some of the potential practices for the design of an effective online module.

To inquire into this question, research articles on the design aspects online training modules such as the use of video, audio, interactive activities, the use of questions with immediate feedback will be examined. The design aspects of the online training modules which have been previously implemented by our organizational development department will also be looked at to determine the types of activities which assisted in engaging the learner.


Becker, K., Bohnenkamp, J., Domitrovich, C., Keperling, J., & Ialongo, N. (2014). Online training for teachers delivering evidence-based preventive interventions. School Mental Health: A Multidisciplinary Research and Practice Journal, 6(4), 225-236. doi:10.1007/s12310-014-9124-x

Francis, B., Mauriello, S., Phillips, C., Englebardt, S., & Grayden, S. (2000). Assessment ofonline continuing dental education in North Carolina. Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions,20(2), 76-84. doi:10.1002/chp.1340200203

Gupta, R., & Sahoo, C. (2015). Role of technology-based training towards competency building. Productivity, 55(4), 388-394.

Jackson, T., Hannum, W., Koroluk, L., & Proffit, W. (2011). Effectiveness of web-based teaching modules: Test-enhanced learning in dental education. Journal of Dental Education, 75(6), 775-81.

Kavadella, A., Kossioni, A., Tsiklakis, K., Cowpe, J., Bullock, A., Barnes, E., Bailey, S., Thomas, H., Thomas, R., Karaharju-Suvanto, T., Suomalainen, K., Kersten, H., Povel, E., Giles, M., Walmsley, D., Soboleva, U., Liepa, A., & Akota, I. (2013). Recommendations for the development of e-modules for the continuing professional development of European dentists. European Journal of Dental Education, 17, 45-54. doi:10.1111/eje.12039


LRNT 692 – Unit 1: Blog Post #1 – The impact of an interactive online module in the annual training and preparedness of staff in the dental programs

Design Decision #1 – Why use an online training resource?

For this blog post, the design challenge, the literature guiding my approach for this design decision, the unanswered question prompting this, and where to explore to inquire into this question will be discussed.

For the past five years, staff in the dental health programs at our college participate in face-to-face training annually. To ensure that staff are prepared to work in the clinical and laboratory settings, training includes Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), emergency protocols, and infection prevention and control protocols. However, not all staff participate in the one-day training sessions due to work or family obligations. To bring staff who work in different locations and who have different schedules to a central location cause administrative aggravation and scheduling difficulties which can be costly (Brown & Bullock, 2014). So, how can dental health staff be trained and prepared when they are not able to attend face-to-face training?

With the continued developments of technology, workplace safety training can be changed positively and has the potential to address accessibility by offering an alternative delivery method through online learning formats and resources (Becker, Bohnenkamp, Domitrovich, Keperling, & Ialongo, 2014; Bruce, 2008; Strazewski, 2005). Offering an online learning option for new and existing employees could help them “complete their safety training in an efficient, convenient and cost-effective manner” (Bruce, 2008, p. 64) “where they are, without disrupting their workflow” (Strazewski, 2005, p. 38) and family life, and as a result, have learning outcomes which are “not significantly different” and are “comparable to or better than to those achieved by in-person trainings” (Becker et al., 2014, p. 226).

This digital learning research consulting project will provide the answer to the following overarching question: How to design an interactive online module that can be used in the annual training and preparedness of dental staff in the clinical and laboratory settings?

To inquire into this question, research articles on the design aspects of effective online training modules and advantages of using e-learning (just-in-time) opportunities will be examined.

There will be more design decision posts to come.

The illustration is created by the author.



Becker, K., Bohnenkamp, J., Domitrovich, C., Keperling, J., & Ialongo, N. (2014). Online training for teachers delivering evidence-based preventive interventions. School Mental Health: A Multidisciplinary Research and Practice Journal, 6(4), 225-236. doi:10.1007/s12310-014-9124-x

Brown, M., & Bullock, A. (2014). Evaluating Plato: Postgraduate teaching and learning online. The Clinical Teacher, 11(1), 10-14. doi:10.1111/tct.12052

Bruce, R. (2008). Online from Kazakhstan to California. Occupational Hazards, 70(6), 61-65.

Strazewski, L. (2005). Online safety training. Rough Notes, 148(6), 34-38.


LRNT 622 – Unit 3 Activity 1: Theoretical Frameworks

A theoretical framework that I am interested in learning more about is the e-learning systems theory framework, since it has components such as “people, technology, and services” (Aparicio, Bacao & Oliveira, 2016, p. 301) which are what I can use to base my DLRCP on.  This theoretical framework explains the complex interactions between (a) the people which have been identified as the learners, the content providers and other stakeholders, (b) the technology which is used to deliver the content, the communication and the collaboration, and (c) the services which is the e-learning activities based on pedagogical models and instructional strategies (Aparicio, Bacao & Oliveira, 2016).

Some questions that come to mind are:

  • Is this theoretical framework the most appropriate to guide my research?
  • Is this the only theoretical framework that I can use for the basis of my project?

Here is a diagram of the e-learning systems’ theoretical framework as shown in Aparicio, Bacao & Oliveira (2016).

I look forward to receiving your feedback and comments.



Aparicio, M., Bacao, F., & Oliveira, T. (2016). An e-Learning Theoretical Framework. Educational Technology & Society, 19 (1),

LRNT 622 – Unit 1: Activity 2 – Thoughts on the Dissemination of my DLRCP

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

As soon as I read what we needed to do for this activity, the first question that popped into my mind was, “Where do I start with this one?”. When I worked at the hospital and had conducted research with my colleagues, my mentors had always encouraged to publish the research in a journal and present at a conference that our hospital would host, or one that was hosted by one of the dental hygiene associations. However, when thinking of my DLRCP project, this may not be the route to take at the moment.

I decided to do some research on dissemination and found an article developed by the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ), “Quick-Start Guide to Dissemination for Practice-Based Research Networks”. Some of the points in this article is quite pertinent and can be applied to my dissemination plan. According to the AHRQ (2014), dissemination “refers to the process of sharing research findings with stakeholders and wider audiences” and is key “for uptake” (para. 2). The AHRQ (2014) suggests that a dissemination plan explain the following: (a) Why—the purpose of dissemination, (b) What—the message to be disseminated, (c) To whom—the audience, (d) How—the method, and (e) When—the timing (para. 3). When keeping these considerations in mind, I feel that I would need to disseminate in two phases.

The first phase of dissemination would be a presentation to the Chair of the Dental Programs, the Program Directors and the Clinical Coordinators of all the dental programs i.e. Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting, Denturism and Dental Technology. In this presentation, I would introduce and demonstrate the interactive online training module(s), discuss the benefits, and get feedback on how and when this could be implemented for the staff to use. For example, this could be incorporated into our Blackboard platform for staff to access anytime, anywhere in the beginning of the fall semester in 2020.

The second phase of dissemination would be to present the implementation of the interactive online training module(s) at a Professional Development Workshop held during Intersession at our college, or during the George Brown College (GBC) Digital Education Day. The audience would be interested colleagues from all programs and departments in the GBC community. The implementation, the benefits and the challenges of the project would be presented. Another consideration for the project is to offer the training module(s) as an open educational resource for the GBC community and other colleges.

These are just a few of my thoughts on the dissemination of my DLRCP. I look forward to hearing and appreciate your thoughts and feedback!



Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2014). Quick-Start Guide to Dissemination for Practice-Based Research Networks. Retrieved from


Strategies to Develop a Collaborative Online Community for Learners

Students in the Dental Hygiene Program have a very heavy workload. They have classes with face-to-face interactions and some with a blended-learning delivery. To ensure that learners are motivated, engaged and supported, some strategies that could be incorporated to address the Teaching, Social and Cognitive Presences as outlined in the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework will be discussed.

Teaching Presence

Students benefit and are motivated when the facilitator is “committed to their learning” (Morrison, 2012, para. 6; Bonk & Khoo, 2014). By providing timely, constructive, supportive and personal feedback on assignments and discussion posts, encourages and motivates the learner by showing them that their work and comments are important to their learning (Morrison, 2012). Having a welcome video message and check-in and summary videos (Morrison, 2012; Bonk & Khoo, 2014) establishes a teaching presence and a social presence. Students can “connect” to the facilitator through the video and know that the facilitator is engaged in the course. By acknowledging that students may be having academic difficulties (Morrison, 2012), is another way for a facilitator to show support throughout the learning process (Dunlap & Lowenthal, 2018). The students may have many difficult readings, module activities and online tests, so if the facilitator can suggest additional resources or give encouragement through a video message or synchronous discussion, this will show empathy to the learners’ needs.

Social Presence

“Social presence in online learning stimulates the whole eLearning experience, enhances learners-instructor’s interactions, and improves learner to learner activities as well” (Garcia-O’Neill, 2016). By having students create their profiles including their names and photos, assists students to establish a connection by identifying each other in the online environment. Creating activities where learners share their personal experiences, helps students to learn about and connect with each other. Using learning systems and tools (i.e. Flipgrid, Padlet) that will strengthen the learner experience by helping them to share their thoughts and feelings, will promote learning (Garcia-O’Neill, 2016).

Cognitive Presence

“Cognitive presence develops around two key concepts: practical inquiry and critical thinking” (Beck, 2015), which are essential in our students’ learning. Three strategies that will address this are: (a) creating discussion topics that will have students apply the acquired knowledge from the assigned readings; (b) creating an activity where learners can explore an aspect of the content in greater depth and apply what they are learning in meaningful ways; and (c) having students reflect on and synthesize their learning during and/or at the end of the course.

When the above strategies are incorporated, learners will be motivated, encouraged, supported and engaged in the online environment.

Infographic by Joyce Wimmer is licensed under a Creative Commons                                                                  Attribution 4.0 International License 


Beck, D. (2015). Community of Inquiry: Cognitive Presence. Retrieved from

Bonk, C.J., & Khoo, E.G. (2014). Adding some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ activities for motivating and retaining learners online (PDF). Open World Books. Retrieved from

Dunlap, J. C., & Lowenthal, P. R. (2018). Online educators’ recommendations for teaching online: Crowdsourcing in action. Open Praxis10(1), 79–89.

Garcia-O’Neill, E. (2016). Social Presence in Online Learning: 7 Things Instructional Designers Can Do to Improve It. Retrieved from

Morrison, D. (2012, August 31). How to Motivate Students in the Online Learning Environment [Blog post]. Retrieved from



Reflect Phase in Developing the Digital Learning Resource (DLR)

What was the most surprising thing that you learned by participating in the design thinking process, and designing and developing your DLR?

I realized that although I tried to think comprehensively, there were a few details that I omitted from my design process such as forgetting to mention that my DLR would be hosted on the college’s learning management system (LMS), Blackboard.

When you proceed through the different phases (empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test) as outlined by Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford (, brainstorm ideas and receive feedback, I found that developing a DLR can take time, but is a lot easier than expected especially if you have the right tools and foundational learning.

What suggestions and improvements did you receive?

My peers and instructor throughout this process suggested a lot of ideas and gave actionable and constructive feedback. This clearly shows that collaborating with others from various backgrounds and perspectives “enable breakthrough insights and solutions” (Stanford University Institute of Design, 2016, p. 2).

Some of the suggestions/feedback were the following:

  • On the main page of the DLR, have an introductory or welcome video (Stokes-Beare & Wilkes, 2019).
  • When explaining the use of Flipgrid in regards to the privacy and security of our students, add a cautionary note on the use of the “remember me” feature. This should only be indicated if the students are using their own personal device (Stokes-Beare & Wilkes, 2019).
  • Instead of having the Flipgrid tutorial at the beginning, it should be incorporated into the discussion section as there can be a “disconnect or break in concentration where students have to go back to the initial page” (Stokes-Beare & Wilkes, 2019, p. 3).
  • The Flipgrid discussion section would be “a great opportunity to have students interact with each other on their thoughts on the module” (Stokes-Beare & Wilkes, 2019, p. 4).

Did you get any feedback that you did not expect and needs further investigation?

Due to not having the background and previous experience of working with our Dental Hygiene students and guest speakers, my peers gave some feedback that were not expected, but would need further investigation.

Rephrasing the statement “mandatory feedback” to “feedback is welcomed and appreciated” (Stokes-Beare & Wilkes, 2019, p. 5). In previous experiences with students using Socrative Survey, I have used positive language such as “feedback is welcomed and appreciated”; however, only received a 35% response rate (Wimmer, 2019).

Having “a link to contact the specific guest speaker for further clarification, if that is appropriate” (Stokes-Beare & Wilkes, 2019, p. 6). This may not be appropriate/convenient for all of our guest speakers due to their work schedules. Thus, it may be easier that the students contact the instructor for more information or clarification. If there are questions that the instructor cannot answer, then she would be able to compile a list of those questions and contact the guest speaker if needed.

“Perhaps offering a question and answer section after each subject (i.e. radiography prescription) may provide an opportunity to ask specific questions about the topic” (Stokes-Beare & Wilkes, 2019, p. 6). Because the students already know how to use the various forms, they would not need more clarification on the use of them. This section is meant to demonstrate the difference in process in treating the Veterans from the Leave the Streets Behind Program.

It was asked if I saw any challenges in obtaining guest speaker videos to add to the DLR (Christie, 2019). I thought that I could perhaps obtain consent from the guest speakers if we could videotape them during their live presentation with our students. This video would then be posted to the module.

What are the next steps you would like to take to build upon your DLR?

I definitely would like to work on incorporating some of the feedback such as creating a welcome video, moving the Flipgrid tutorial to the discussion section, and asking a question that would begin class discussion on Flipgrid. After the modification, I would then like to test it with a few of my colleagues especially the professor of the Community Health course. If they feel that it works well, then I would like to implement the module in October 2019.

Consider how you might utilize the design thinking process for the design and creation of DLR in the future, or for other tasks that you may encounter within your instructional context.

Prior to starting the MALAT program, I have had limited experience in creating a DLR. Thus, having these experiences of doing things step-by-step, obtaining feedback and collaborating with others, has assisted me in building confidence and knowledge in instructional design.

Furthermore, I found that going through the various phases made me think of how our students would feel and think in the online learning environment. I found myself asking a lot of questions like “is this clear enough?”, “how might they interpret this?”, “would this cause discomfort if I used this technology and how can I make them feel more comfortable?” As Mohsin Hamid stated. “Empathy is about finding echoes of another person in yourself” (Matthews, Williams, Yanchar & McDonald, 2017, p. 486).

From the experiences so far in our program, I feel that the design thinking process will assist me in the future creation of DLR in my instructional context.



Christie, J. (2019, August 11). Assignment 2 – Design and Creation of Digital Learning Resource Feedback. Unpublished manuscript. Royal Roads University.

Matthews, M., Williams, G., Yanchar, S., & McDonald, J. (2017). Empathy in distance learning design practiceTech Trends, 61(5), 486-493.

Stokes-Beare, D., & Wilkes, P. (2019, August 14). Critical Analysis and Feedback. Unpublished manuscript. Royal Roads University.

Stanford University Institute of Design. (2016). bootcamp bootleg. Retrieved from

Wimmer, J. (2019, July 11). WEOHC – Socrative Survey Results. Unpublished manuscript. George Brown College.

Unit 2 Activity 3 – Developing a Design Plan

The following depicts the development of my design plan  for my design challenge of “How might we develop an experience where we provide engagement and accessibility to guest speaker resources to all first-year dental hygiene students, so they can succeed in their placements in alternative settings?”


The digital learning resource (DLR) will be created for our first-year dental hygiene students who were unable to see the guest speaker presentation and who cannot remember information that they heard. This will be accessible at anywhere, anytime and will also give them another opportunity to communicate with other students and the instructor if they have any questions to ensure that they are confident and comfortable with the information prior to their placements in alternative settings. The DLR will provide learner-content, learner-learner and learner-instructor interactions.

Learning Goals:

The DLR will provide a platform for the instructor to present guest speaker sessions that discusses the patients, the expectations and the programs in the alternative settings i.e. community health centres, Royal Canadian Legion and hospitals.

The students will be able to:

  • Familiarize themselves with the types of patients that they will be providing care to in the alternative settings
  • Learn more about the history, importance and expectations of the different programs
  • Conceptualize the importance and expectations of the placement settings if they were not able to attend the speaker presentation
  • Feel as comfortable and as confident as possible prior to the placement settings

Intended Audience: 

The intended audience for my DLR are our first-year dental hygiene students who have one or more of the following:

  • 18 to over 50 years of age
  • Coming straight from high school to those who have obtained a diploma, certificate or degree in post-secondary education
  • May be pursuing a second or third career
  • May or may not be comfortable with technology and/or digital learning resources
  • New to Toronto (coming from other provinces or from other countries)
  • May have language barriers (English as a second language)
  • Have different life experiences, beliefs and attitudes
  • May have learning disabilities
  • May have accessibility issues (poor internet connection, no laptop, etc.)


In one of our first year Dental Hygiene courses, the professor asks guest speakers to present on their programs to inform the students of what is expected when they provide dental hygiene services to their compromised and vulnerable patient populations. Some of the guest speakers are from community health centres, the Royal Canadian Legion and hospital settings.  During these presentations, we have observed the following: (a) most of the students pay attention; however, there is a good number of them who were distracted by their laptops and phones, or were having side conversations; and (b) although mandatory attendance is expected during these presentations, not all students were able to come due to illness or work and family obligations. Therefore, this means that if they did not speak to or obtain notes from their peers, they did not know what to expect during the placements in the above settings.

Research has shown that viewing a video would be similar to listening to a guest speaker and would be accessible if students are unable to attend a live presentation (Kim & Vali, 2011). Therefore, the digital resource will be designed to deliver information in various methods and modalities to keep the learners engaged without overwhelming them, especially for those who are not comfortable with the digital environment. The resource will be accessible anytime, anywhere, so the students will be able to refer to the to the resource when they have an opportunity in their already heavy workload.


There will be a tutorial that will introduce the different technology tools that will be used in the guest speaker module which will be in Articulate Rise. There will also be a podcast with transcript by the instructor to provide guidance on the learning objectives in the module. The student will be able to access this anytime, anywhere. The module will consist of a short video using YouTube which will introduce the students to a guest speaker from a particular setting. The students will be able to associate a name to a face if they were unable to attend the face-to-face presentation. Flipgrid can be used to start a discussion, answer a question or post a question to other students and the instructor. If students are camera shy, then they can cover their camera to have audio-only responses. The use of podcasts or Slack will also be offered to the students if they do not want to use Flipgrid. This will give the students an opportunity to choose which method of communication is more comfortable for them. They will then feel empowered and engaged in their learning, and in turn, can build on their knowledge by communicating/interacting with their peers and the instructor.

 Assessment/Evaluation Plan: 

To ensure that the intended learning goals are being met, interactive questions with immediate feedback will be incorporated into the module (using Articulate Rise). If the students need more clarification or have questions on the information, then they can collaborate through Flipgrid, Podcast or Slack. To measure effectiveness of the digital learning resource, a Socrative Survey can be done online. This can give students an opportunity to assess and give feedback on the module as well as answer specific questions that can ‘test’ what they learned.

Learning Theories & Instructional Design Principles Used: 

Because our students are from various experiences with technology, backgrounds and ages, and because “there are many schools of thought on learning, and no one school is used exclusively to design online learning materials” (Ally, 2008, p. 18). Therefore, a variety of theories can be used to develop DLR.

“[The most appropriate instructional] strategies should be selected to motivate learners, facilitate deep processing, build the whole person, cater to individual differences, promote meaningful learning, encourage interaction, provide relevant feedback, facilitate contextual learning, and provide support during the learning process” (Ally, 2008, p. 18).

A combination of learning approaches can be implemented into the DLR. Behaviourists’ strategies where the facts are being taught, cognitive strategies where the processes and principles are being taught and the constructivist strategies where students create their knowledge from their own experiences through “observation, processing, and interpretation” (Cooper, 1993; Wilson, 1997, as cited by Ally, 2008, p. 19) can all be considered in the design. As the students watch video, interact with their peers and instructor, read material, complete tutorials and interactive activities in the module, they are building upon their learning. The different activities in the module should be based on the different learning styles according to Kolb (1984). For example, concrete-experience learners like to work in groups, and learn from peer feedback and specific examples. While active-experimentation learners like active learning activities and interacting with their peers in discussions and also learning from their feedback and information.

Some of the 25 learning principles to guide pedagogy and the design of learning environments as outlined by Halpern, Graesser and Hakel (2007) can be incorporated. For example, the DLR can be delivered in multiple modes and modalities to ensure that the learner is not overwhelmed (Dual Code and Multimedia Effects); can provide immediate feedback to assessment questions during the module, so students can learn and understand from their errors (Negative Suggestion Effects and Self-regulated Learning); ensure that the DLR is free from clutter, so students will learn what is important and not be distracted (Manageable Cognitive Load and Coherence Effect); and incorporate stories and example cases, so students can try to relate, comprehend and remember the material (Stories and Example Cases).

The above strategies and learning principles all connect to Knowles’ Adult Learning Theory where relevant information, problem solving, experiential learning, self-directed learning and motivation are important (Knowles, 1984).

Instructions for Use: 

To ensure effective learning from this module, technology tutorials, an instructor introduction which will include learning objectives and guidance to the modules, and instructions throughout the module will be incorporated.

Plan for Use: 

This digital learning resource will be eventually offered as an open educational resource, so other programs or colleges will have the ability to incorporate this type of module into their curriculum. This can be shared publicly either through my personal blog or offer it through eCampus Ontario. However, I would first like to ensure that the guest speakers are contacted to obtain permission and to ensure that they are comfortable with their videos being public.



Ally, M. (2008). Foundations of educational theory for online learning. In T. Anderson (Ed.), The theory and practice of online learning (pp.15-44). Edmonton, AB: AU Press.

Halpern, D.F., Graesser, A., & Hakel, M. (2007). 25 learning principles to guide pedagogy and the design of learning environments. Washington, DC: Association of Psychological Science Taskforce on Lifelong Learning at Work and at Home.

Kim, E., & Vail, C. (2011). Improving preservice teachers’ perspectives on family involvement in teaching children with special needs: Guest speaker versus video. Teacher Education and Special Education, 34(4), 320-338. doi:10.1177/0888406411410076

Knowles, M. S. et al (1984) Andragogy in Action. Applying modern principles of adult education, San Francisco: Jossey Bass.

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.