We know that starting your own business isn’t easy and we know that you need inspiration. Of course, we could tell you about the entrepreneurs who risked to move online and got their money’s worth, but wouldn’t it be better to read the story coming straight from the horse’s mouth?
If you are looking to chase your dream and become an online entrepreneur, looking for advice on your current eLearning project or seeking ways to get the most out of your business you will find the story worthy!
The story how a small dental practice turned into online dental program rolled out across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific
Learning Management System for Dental Education and Training
Having access to continuing dental education is a matter of the first importance for dental professionals who want to stay on the cutting-edge of dentistry, advance their knowledge or obtain a higher degree. The thing is that dentists have a busy appointment book and don’t time away from their busy practice to attend lectures, conferences and seminars.
For that very reason more and more dental specialists choose online dental programs.
On-going dental education offered on the basis of a Learning Management System is not only an ideal solution for delivering knowledge to dentists with a heavy workload, it is also cost effective compared to a traditional learning as there are no traveling and accommodation costs. Dental specialists stay in the know of the latest dentistry industry trends and emerging technologies without leaving offices while dental programs providers don’t lose audience and ensure the dental industry development.
The story of SmileTube.tv Online Dental Education Provider and its Owner Ken Nicholson
SmileTube.tv is a provider of implant dentistry and oral surgery online courses. Founded in 2010 SmileTube.tv became the fastest growing dental implant courses provider in the UK.
The SmileTube.tv educational platform provides access to well structured, professionally developed blended learning courses for dentistry specialists looking for necessary knowledge and skills to place and restore dental implants.
Today the provider’s dental courses are offered across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific and many of the course participants received the Diploma in Implant Dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
The Dental Journey Starts…
Way back in 1982 I graduated as a dentist from Queen’s University Belfast. How time flies! After two years working in general practice I joined the Royal Army Dental Corps and as a result was privileged to work in Berlin. The late 1980s was a truly fascinating time in that wonderful city.
In 1988 I returned to my roots in Northern Ireland and opened my own dental practice. The practice grew rapidly to the point where I needed to employ a second dentist. This also allowed me to get involved in undergraduate teaching at my alma mater – that’s when it all started!
I became more and more interested and involved in education, especially in implant dentistry. In 2006 I founded the British society of Oral Implantology and shortly thereafter launched the European Journal of Oral Implantology. My practice became a satellite teaching centre for the MSc. in implant dentistry at the University of Warwick.
I also lectured at the university on the part-time postgraduate program in implant dentistry when dentists from all over the UK and Ireland would come for didactic teaching – but something wasn’t quite right. Dentists would complain about having to take time away from their busy practice to attend lectures. As well as that the course virtual learning environment (VLE) that students had access to when off campus was pretty dead. That’s another story that led me to embarking on a Doctorate in education exploring the differences between e-publishing and e-teaching. Another challenge for students was obtaining adequate hands-on training.
And Idea Appears…
So, I started thinking…. what can we do about this? What if I could come up with an engaging, interactive VLE that brings learning to life? Dentists would no longer need to take time away from their busy practice to attend lectures. What if we could provide supervised hands-on training for dentists? - enter the SmileTube.tv blended learning course in implant dentistry in 2010.
Turning Idea into Reality
I ran a pilot program in my practice with five dentists in 2010 – the course model proved very popular and very successful.
Many hours went into developing the online (knowledge) content of the course prior to its launch. I strongly believe that was one of the most important aspects of making the course a success. Good, interactive, engaging, evidence based content is essential. Content that makes learning fun! The ability to track student progress and provide feedback is another essential ingredient of a robust learning management system.
Growing Up and Out
The clinical component of the course was delivered in my practice – SmileTube.tv’s first clinical teaching centre. As interest in the course grew we developed a network of clinical centres with experienced colleagues throughout the UK and Ireland. Slowly but steadily news of this blended learning course began to spread. Today the program is being rolled out across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow!
Looking back one thing that I neglected to do was read the instructions (for the LMS). I am sure you know that feeling – when all else fails, read the instructions. Fortunately, I had a lady called Helga to call upon and I cannot praise her highly enough for the support she has provided for the last seven years.
A Piece of Advice
If you are thinking about developing an e-learning or blended learning course my advice is Do your homework, always remember, prior planning prevents poor performance!
- What is needed and why?
- Identify a robust learning management package with a good track record and offering good support
- Bring learning to life – make it fun – take time to develop top quality content
- Read the instructions!
I am pleased to say that many of our course participants have gone on to receive the Diploma in Implant Dentistry from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, so we must be doing something right!
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