Attitudes, Barriers, and Experiences Regarding E-Learning and Dental Education during COVID-19 Pandemic

The Open Dentistry Journal 17 Sept 2021 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874210602115010464



Dental schools used e-learning systems to continue teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.


This study aimed to determine attitudes, experiences, and barriers to e-learning during the pandemic among dental students in Saudi Arabia.


A cross-sectional study (descriptive) was performed at the Faculty of Dentistry, Umm Al-Qura University. There were 245 responses to the study questionnaire, having a response rate of 90.74%. The questionnaire was validated through a pilot study. A t-test analysis showed a significance level of 0.05.


Participants had moderate levels of attitudes, with the mean and standard deviation (SD) being 2.99 (SD = 1.21) to 3.41 (SD = 1.19). Clinical year students had significantly (p < 0.05) better attitudes than non-clinical year students. The most prevalent personal barrier was “lack of interaction with colleagues” (55.92%), the technical barrier was “the slowness of network” (67.35%), infrastructure/technological barrier was “low bandwidth” (67.76%), the content barrier was “impracticality of some courses” (50.61%), and the barrier related to the instructor was “difficulty contacting academic staff from home” (43.67%). About 83.27% stated that recorded lectures allowed participants to revisit the course, improving learning during the pandemic. However, only 44.08% believed e-learning provided a better opportunity to learn dental clinical procedures because of the zoom function on cameras.


The overall attitude toward e-learning was moderate, with several barriers highlighted. Nevertheless, the e-learning system seems to have helped during the pandemic, and it might be essential for dental schools to build a hybrid teaching strategy into their curricula for consistent use.

Keywords: Dental education, E-learning, Dental students, Attitude, Barriers, COVID-19.
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