Make the most of your learningNews
Posted by: The Probe 15th January 2021
Online learning has become a regular feature in our ‘new normal’ throughout UK dentistry. While professionals have long utilised webinars and online education, these platforms have truly come into their own during a time of significantly limited physical interaction – if it has been possible at all. Of course, there is no substitute for physically attending an event, the many advantages of which can never be replaced by other means. When the time comes to finally get together again, we will certainly all be looking to make the most of it! Right now, there is an opportunity to plan ahead in order to maximise our learning pathway and reap the rewards of optimal career development.
The value of online
Online learning may have been a necessity during lockdowns and in light of the various travel restrictions and social distancing rules, but it still afforded several benefits. For example, it couldn’t be more convenient to update your knowledge and skills from the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to worry about travel times and costs, accommodation, smart clothes or much preparation – all you need is an internet connection to log on and learn.
Another positive aspect of this format is that you can hear from experts from across the world, as physical demographics are no longer a barrier. In fact, common modern technology makes it possible to engage with speakers and colleagues using these platforms at the same time. It’s not quite the same as having a conversation in-person, but at least you can still interact in real-time, ask questions and share your experiences. There is also a chance for some anonymity at some virtual events or online courses, so even shy delegates might be more likely to speak up.
The value of attending events
One of the greatest benefits of attending a professional event is the level of communication that can be achieved. It is much easier to pick up non-verbal cues and people often bounce off of each other during conversation or discussion, enabling everyone to gain more from interactions. This creates an atmosphere that cannot be replicated in any way via online platforms – the buzz you get from an event is truly unique. In turn, this makes it easier to focus on the topic at hand, it encourages more dynamic learning and is often far more enjoyable.
The latter feature is greatly improved by the chance to catch up with friends from across the profession in an informal way, to have a drink or two with colleagues during breaks or after the event. Indeed, the social programmes of most major conferences tend to be a highlight of the events and a great way for individuals and teams to network and have fun.
In addition, the ability to browse exhibitions in-person makes it simpler to discover new products and to try out innovative technologies and materials for yourself. You learn far more about a product when you’re able to get hands-on, than when you are watching a demonstration or reading a description, after all.
Plan your learning for 2021
Though we are still unsure as to what the rest of 2021 will look like in terms of local or national restrictions, it’s important to be prepared. As such, planning for a mixture of online and physical learning opportunities will likely be most appropriate. There is a wide range of webinars available on the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show website designed specifically to help practices optimise their processes in this new world of dentistry. There are also many online training courses to choose from, such as those available on the BDA’s website, which cover everything from aesthetic periodontal surgery to oral cancer and dental materials. Decide what topics to focus on and look to space out your learning throughout the year.
When it comes to attending events, you definitely want to save the dates for the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2021 – Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd May. Presented in collaboration with the British Dental Association (BDA) once again, this will deliver two days of enhanced CPD for the entire dental team, with sessions hosted by world-class speakers and hundreds of dental manufacturers on hand to display their latest and greatest innovations. Whether you are looking for industry updates, to introduce new imaging technology to your practice or advance your endodontic skills, this event has it all.
However you organise your training and education for 2021, the important thing is that you continue developing and that you remain engaged with the wider profession. Knowing that you’re not alone and interacting with others who understand the challenges you faced will go a long way in helping you grow throughout the year to come.
The British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show 2021 will be held on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd May, Birmingham NEC, co-located with DTS.
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