Vuchkova J, Maybury TS, and Farah CS. Testing the educational potential of 3D visualization software in oral radiographic interpretation. J Dent Educ.2011 Nov;75(11):1417-25.

PMID: 22058390


There is heightened optimism about the potential of 3D visualization software as an alternative learning resource in radiology education. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of 3D visualization software on students' learning of oral radiographic interpretation from 2D radiographic images. Fourth-year dental students underwent a learning intervention phase of radiographic interpretation of oral pathoses using 3D visualization software. The success of the educational intervention was assessed by quantitative means, using a radiographic interpretation test, and by qualitative means, using a structured Likert-scale survey, asking students to evaluate their own learning outcomes. It was anticipated that training with the rotational mode of 3D visualization software would provide additional depth cues, enabling students to create spatial-mental models of anatomy that they can apply to 2D radiographic interpretation of oral pathoses. Although quantitative assessment did not support this, questionnaire evaluations demonstrated a positive effect of the 3D visualization software by enhancing students' learning about radiographic interpretation. Despite much optimism about the educational potential of 3D visualization software, it is important to understand the interactions between learners and such new technologies in order to identify potential advantages and limitations prior to embracing them as learning resources.