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      Rapid transition to distance learning due to COVID-19: Perceptions of postgraduate dental learners and instructors

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          Abstract

          The outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) necessitated an abrupt transition from on campus, face-to-face sessions to online, distance learning in higher education institutions. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of postgraduate dental learners and instructors about the transition to distance learning, including the changes to the learning and teaching and its efficaciousness. A convergent mixed methods approach to research was utilized. All the instructors and postgraduate learners in a dental college were invited to participate in an online survey. Quantitative data was analyzed using descriptive and inferential analyses on SPSS for Windows version 25.0, and for the responses to the open-ended questions, multi-staged thematic analysis was utilized. Both groups of stakeholders: learners and instructors, were satisfied with the rapid transition to distance learning due to COVID-19. Instructors were significantly more satisfied than the learners. The stakeholders adapted well to the change. The perception of the stakeholders regarding the case-based scenarios significantly influenced their level of satisfaction. As perceived by the stakeholders, the transition to distance learning entailed advantages and challenges. Going through the experience enabled the stakeholders to develop informed opinions of how best to sustain learning and teaching irrespective of how matters unfold in relation to the pandemic. In conclusion, the worldwide dental education community faced unprecedented challenges due to the onset of COVID-19. From a macro perspective, decision-makers must not miss out on the valuable opportunities, inherent in the experience, to reinforce curriculums, and maximize learning and teaching.

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          Achieving integration in mixed methods designs-principles and practices.

          Mixed methods research offers powerful tools for investigating complex processes and systems in health and health care. This article describes integration principles and practices at three levels in mixed methods research and provides illustrative examples. Integration at the study design level occurs through three basic mixed method designs-exploratory sequential, explanatory sequential, and convergent-and through four advanced frameworks-multistage, intervention, case study, and participatory. Integration at the methods level occurs through four approaches. In connecting, one database links to the other through sampling. With building, one database informs the data collection approach of the other. When merging, the two databases are brought together for analysis. With embedding, data collection and analysis link at multiple points. Integration at the interpretation and reporting level occurs through narrative, data transformation, and joint display. The fit of integration describes the extent the qualitative and quantitative findings cohere. Understanding these principles and practices of integration can help health services researchers leverage the strengths of mixed methods. © Health Research and Educational Trust.
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            Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative Results in Health Science Mixed Methods Research Through Joint Displays.

            Mixed methods research is becoming an important methodology to investigate complex health-related topics, yet the meaningful integration of qualitative and quantitative data remains elusive and needs further development. A promising innovation to facilitate integration is the use of visual joint displays that bring data together visually to draw out new insights. The purpose of this study was to identify exemplar joint displays by analyzing the various types of joint displays being used in published articles.
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              Barriers and solutions to online learning in medical education – an integrative review

              Background The aim of this study is to review the literature on known barriers and solutions that face educators when developing and implementing online learning programs for medical students and postgraduate trainees. Methods An integrative review was conducted over a three-month period by an inter-institutional research team. The search included ScienceDirect, Scopus, BioMedical, PubMed, Medline (EBSCO & Ovid), ERIC, LISA, EBSCO, Google Scholar, ProQuest A&I, ProQuest UK & Ireland, UL Institutional Repository (IR), UCDIR and the All Aboard Report. Search terms included online learning, medical educators, development, barriers, solutions and digital literacy. The search was carried out by two reviewers. Titles and abstracts were screened independently and reviewed with inclusion/exclusion criteria. A consensus was drawn on which articles were included. Data appraisal was performed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) Qualitative Research Checklist and NHMRC Appraisal Evidence Matrix. Data extraction was completed using the Cochrane Data Extraction Form and a modified extraction tool. Results Of the 3101 abstracts identified from the search, ten full-text papers met the inclusion criteria. Data extraction was completed on seven papers of high methodological quality and on three lower quality papers. Findings suggest that the key barriers which affect the development and implementation of online learning in medical education include time constraints, poor technical skills, inadequate infrastructure, absence of institutional strategies and support and negative attitudes of all involved. Solutions to these include improved educator skills, incentives and reward for the time involved with development and delivery of online content, improved institutional strategies and support and positive attitude amongst all those involved in the development and delivery of online content. Conclusion This review has identified barriers and solutions amongst medical educators to the implementation of online learning in medical education. Results can be used to inform institutional and educator practice in the development of further online learning. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (10.1186/s12909-018-1240-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: SupervisionRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: Project administrationRole: ResourcesRole: SoftwareRole: SupervisionRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                plos
                plosone
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                8 February 2021
                2021
                : 16
                : 2
                : e0246584
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Hamdan Bin Mohammed College of Dental Medicine, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
                [2 ] Masters in Medical Education Programme, Centre for Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Dundee, Nethergate, Dundee, United Kingdom
                [3 ] Strategy and Institutional Excellence, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
                [4 ] Institute for Excellence in Health Professions Education, Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
                University of Michigan, UNITED STATES
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: No authors have competing interests.

                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8944-4948
                https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9482-4614
                Article
                PONE-D-20-28654
                10.1371/journal.pone.0246584
                7870061
                33556131
                50200541-3dec-4fbf-af1d-d67a4a307ac1
                © 2021 Rad et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 11 September 2020
                : 21 January 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 2, Pages: 22
                Funding
                The authors received no specific funding for this work.
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