by Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD
Dr. Dalin: To continue our discussion from last month about continuing education online, let’s talk with Dr. Phil Klein. A practicing endodontist in Philadelphia, he moved to San Diego in 1998 to start an Internet learning company, Learn Health Sci Inc. The dental division of Learn HealthSci is DenTrek. This company has taken online CE to a new level - one that is live and interactive. Dr. Klein has taken the process of live and taped Webcasts and added to it. A speaker can make a presentation to as many as 100 people, who can ask questions via the Internet during the live presentation. This provides immediate interaction with the presenter. Phil, is this description correct?
Dr. Klein: Yes it is. Learn HealthSci specializes in Internet-based training and learning solutions for the dental industry. Our most recent product is LAVA Learning®. This allows a lecturer to present a live, interactive class via the Internet to 100 students, all of whom might be at different locations. Students can hear the speaker’s voice through their computer speakers, and interact with the speaker by typing in questions and submitting them during the presentation. All a student needs is a computer with speakers and an Internet connection (DSL or faster). The speaker needs the same, plus a USB microphone. Soon, we expect LAVA Learning to support 500 simultaneous students. This will be ideal for speakers who deliver their messages to large audiences.
Dr. Dalin: Phil, I am familiar with your company. Recently I gave a presentation on the new Protemp Crown from 3M™ ESPE™ to approximately 60 Sullivan-Schein reps located across the country. It was simple to use, and the interaction took this medium to the next level. How can this type of presentation save time and money for everyone involved?
Dr. Klein: Aside from the cost and inconveniences of traveling, think about the loss of productivity that results from closing your practice for a day or so, or simply taking a half-day off from work to attend a class. These costs can easily run into thousands of dollars. Now, dental professionals can logon to the Internet and participate in “interactive CE” directly from the comfort of their home or office. There are dentists who practice in rural areas as well as those who reside outside the United States and find it difficult to satisfy their interactive CEU license requirements. CE becomes an interactive experience that’s fun. At the same time, it promotes life-long learning.
Dr. Dalin: Looking into the proverbial crystal ball, where do you think the future will take us in this area?
Dr. Klein: As the Internet has matured, we are getting a better sense of what efficiencies can be realized by integrating new technologies into the Web. Now more than ever, dental professionals are swamped at the office and do not have ample free time. Because of this, online learning in the dental profession will become more popular as more people see the value and realize there are convenient, time-saving, and cost-effective alternatives available. Continuing education will be available in many formats as traditional learning and digital-online learning begin to merge into a blended learning experience. In addition to the standard desktop, learning modules will be accessible through mobile devices such as the iPod and cell phones with video capabilities. Certification programs will be available through the Web that will not only test comprehension but also competency. This will be done through interactive 3-D simulations that mimic real-life scenarios. With the Internet, as the barriers to learning - regardless of where you are in the world - are removed, learning opportunities will become limitless.
Dr. Dalin: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about online learning for the dental community?
Dr. Klein: I think the basic message I want to convey is that anyone, regardless of his or her level of Internet experience or technical savvy, can reap the benefits of online learning.In the early days of the Internet, many people were fearful of the time involved and the technological knowledge needed to navigate something even as simple as downloading a file onto a computer. But today, increased bandwidth, faster computers, and new technology have provided fast, user-friendly, cost-efficient, and convenient methods of learning on the Internet. The Internet has proven to be a reliable medium, and has secured its place in the future with learning and information-gathering as one of its most used and valued assets. As people continue to embrace online learning, more and more options will be made available to the online learning audience.
Dr. Phil Klein is the founder and CEO of Learn HealthSci Inc., a San Diego-based company that specializes globally in the production and management of online multimedia training modules for sales representatives and health-care professionals. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and the University of Pennsylvania post-doctorate program in endodontics. Dr. Klein can be contacted at [email protected].
Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, FICD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry magazine, and spokesman and critical-issue-response-team chairman for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. He is a co-founder of the Give Kids A Smile program. Contact him at [email protected].