“Clinical decision-making and treatment planning are ideal topics for online learning.” ITI Fellow and e-learning expert Dr. Nikos Mattheos shares insights on how to use your time at home for further education.
If you are in implant dentistry you might, like most of us, think of it as a predominantly clinical subject. To learn it properly, you might think it’s necessary to have access to a clinic and patients to practice. But is this always true? You might want to reconsider, particularly in times like these when many of us are forced to stay at home, away from clinics and training facilities. While clinical competences are of course essential, you need to know much more in order to be successful in implant dentistry – some aspects of which are actually very well suited to online learning from the comfort of one’s home.
Dr. Nikos Mattheos, who is an ITI Fellow, has taught implant dentistry to tens of thousands of students through online courses, including Hong Kong university’s massive open online course (MOOC). He comments: “There is a very significant portion of decision-making, which doesn’t require you to cut or suture.” In other words, online learning can work very well to improve students’ treatment planning skills and creating the right treatment pathways for different types of cases. “You can train your decision-making and educate yourself on what to do in which clinical situation and why”, explains Dr. Mattheos.
“You can train your decision-making and educate yourself on what to do in which clinical situation and why.” Dr. Mattheos
There is an increasing number of online learning offerings in implant dentistry. Two examples are the ITI’s Online Curriculum Foundation level and the ITI Academy. The ITI Online Curriculum Foundation level is a structured, self-paced course made up of 6 domains. It culminates in a final examination and graduates receive an ITI Certificate in Implant Dentistry. The ITI Academy, on the other hand, is a vast library of more than 750 online learning items spanning from basic theory all the way to guided videos of complex clinical cases.
There have never been more options to learn online and – for better or worse – there has probably never been a better time either. To get started, Dr. Mattheos recommends students reflect on their current clinical practice and define where they want to be two years from now. He asks: “Do you want to place implants surgically, do you want to restore them, or both? Do you want to treat straightforward patients or engage with complex cases, too?” Once you have defined where you want to be you can start to pinpoint what you are missing and pick the right learning content. “The ITI Academy is the ideal place to pick education content that fits your individual needs”, says Dr. Mattheos.
“The ITI Academy is the ideal place to pick education content that fits your individual needs.” Dr. Mattheos
ITI’s vast e-learning content is categorized according to the ITI’s SAC classification as well as grouped by treatment stages such as surgical planning or prosthodontic procedures. This makes it very easy for everyone to find the right content. “However, if you are not sure yet what you need, then go for the full ITI Curriculum”, recommends Dr. Mattheos. It teaches you from the beginning and upon its completion you are in a good position not only to get started clinically but also to decide on your next learning objectives to expand your knowledge selectively.