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Online learning in the real world

12 September 2015

Online learning in the real world

Students of our MSc, around 70 of them, have taken their seats at their desks, well-spaced out in a large room. On each desk is a set of equipment they will use soon, but not just yet.  At the head of the room is a small raised platform where a lecturer discusses the slides that he is presenting. The advanced techniques are known to the attendees from their online lectures but, here, they can see the practices come to life. There is a lot of camaraderie and good will shared between the attendees, as if they were all old friends.

In actual fact, it’s only the 2nd time they’ve all been together. They greet each other and chat about the family, about their hobbies, about dentistry. Everyone is engaged, everyone is learning and everyone is enjoying it. When the venue staff announce that lunch is being served, no one gets up. They haven’t finished treating the model teeth yet. They still have questions to ask the tutors about the right way to approach the task at hand. They have those last finishing touches to add before they can break. Our brief experience witnessing the MSc in Restorative and Aesthetic dentistry first-hand was quite an exciting one, indeed.

The MSc

All of the 70 or so students in attendance are about halfway through their Master’s degree. Men and women of all ages, backgrounds and experience all seeking the same thing: to take their practice to that next level. For some it’s to boost earning potential; for others it’s about taking better care of patients; and for some it’s simply about making practice more interesting, equipping yourself with the skillset to take on the most challenging, complex cases. Now on its 7th cohort of students, the MSc in Restorative and Aesthetic Dentistry is one of the most recognised and prestigious courses that dentists use to gain this vital training.

It combines online learning and intensive face-to-face residentials. The online element  allows you to not only complete your studies at your own pace it also allows you to apply what you’ve been learning immediately, In association with the University of Manchester, Healthcare Learning supports the students on this programme on every step of their journey and the residentials, in particular, sees the team working extremely hard to provide the students with everything they need to enhance their experience and ensure they learn and develop the way they want to. It’s an experience that makes what they’ve learned come to life, and is an essential component to a course that gives dentists the confidence to take on more, succeed more, and refer less.

The Residential

Taking place over 4 days, the Residential acts as a crucial addition to the other aspects of the course to date. It truly is an event. People have come from Manchester and Newcastle, from Dublin and Glasgow, from Dubai to Hong Kong, from Australia to America to attend. Attendees receive practical mentorship from trained tutors and lecturers – experts talk through complex cases, go into detail on every single piece of equipment on their desk and give them the advice they need on the cases they want to deal with more and more. Everyone brings their own dental background, they use the methods they know and are familiar with and make them better. They gain a new perspective on alternatives. They’ve been putting into practice what they learn from webinars and online courses already but the Residential gives them the opportunity to refine and perfect these methods.

Furthermore, while the atmosphere among the students is simultaneously studious as well as relaxed, it is clear that many of them enjoy networking among the peers and make the most out of it with this opportunity. The talk turns from dentistry and specific cases they’ve dealt with, to talk of films, of football, of plans for the social event that all students attend on the evening of Day 2. Conversation mixes easily. Students can converse through the various online platforms available through the MSc and it is clear that online familiarity leads to an easy-going, friendly atmosphere when the group are gathered together.

The students themselves

When we caught up with some of the students on the course for a chat, there was a clear consensus on why they’ve done it and what they’ve gained from it. An Ireland-based dentist, Nicola Zammit, told us: “I wanted strong foundations for the kind of treatment I was offering in private practice, especially as there was a big demand for cosmetic treatments. I couldn’t leave my practice, so I needed something to help me maintain the level of work I’m doing as well as have time to study so this was the perfect way to do both.

“I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. It’s all very relevant to what I do on a day to day basis. It’s given me more confidence… The most important aspect has been knowing the evidence behind things and backing up what I’ve already been doing in practice for a number of years. It’s the solid foundation I was looking for.

“Online learning works very well but you have to be very disciplined. Follow it up with background reading. We’re really lucky, the course has some great tutors. I felt the residentials combined with the webinars worked really well for me… Thanks to this course, it has fallen into place.”

Strength to Strength

January 2016 will see the intake of the 7th cohort on the MSc in Restorative and Aesthetic Dentistry, with each year seeing numbers up, and student satisfaction up as Healthcare Learning has refined and perfect its MSc offering alongside the prestigious University of Manchester. The path to making your practice the best it can be, and to make your work every day the most engaging and rewarding it can be, is certainly no easy task. Attendees at this most recent residential were certainly happy that they’d chosen this course. Already, they’ve begun to reap the benefits. It gives you the tools to make yourself a better practitioner, and gives you a platform on which to showcase it. It makes the path to a more successful future clearer and puts it within reach. With this MSc we can help define your future in dentistry the way you want it to be.


Applications are open now for the January 2016 intake. For more info about the MSc in Restorative and Aesthetic Dentistry, please call Healthcare Learning at 020 7400 8989 or email

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