Application of basic science to clinical problems: traditional vs. hybrid problem-based learning. Academic Article uri icon


  • It is widely acknowledged that clinical problem-solving is a key skill for dental practitioners. The aim of this study was to determine if students in a hybrid problem-based learning curriculum (h-PBL) were better at integrating basic science knowledge with clinical cases than students in a traditional, lecture-based curriculum (TC). The performance of TC students (n=40) was compared to that of h-PBL students (n=31). Participants read two clinical scenarios and answered a series of questions regarding each. To control for differences in ability, Dental Admission Test (DAT) Academic Average scores and predental grade point averages (GPAs) were compared, and an ANCOVA was used to adjust for the significant differences in DAT (t-test, p=0.002). Results showed that h-PBL students were better at applying basic science knowledge to a clinical case (ANCOVA, p=0.022) based on overall scores on one case. TC students' overall scores were better than h-PBL students on a separate case; however, it was not statistically significant (p=0.107). The h-PBL students also demonstrated greater skills in the areas of hypothesis generation (Mann-Whitney U, p=0.016) and communication (p=0.006). Basic science comprehension (p=0.01) and neurology (p<0.001) were two areas in which the TC students did score significantly higher than h-PBL students.

published proceedings

  • J Dent Educ

author list (cited authors)

  • Callis, A. N., McCann, A. L., Schneiderman, E. D., Babler, W. J., Lacy, E. S., & Hale, D. S

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • Callis, Amber N||McCann, Ann L||Schneiderman, Emet D||Babler, William J||Lacy, Ernestine S||Hale, David Sidney

publication date

  • October 2010