Exploring predoctoral dental student use of YouTube as a learning tool for clinical endodontic procedures

Min Wen Fu, Anusha Kalaichelvan, Lauren S. Liebman, Lorel E. Burns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose/objectives: The goal of the present study was to examine perceived barriers to achieving clinical competence in endodontics and explain how YouTube is used to supplement formal education in this discipline. Methods: Postgraduate endodontic students conducted focus groups with fourth-year dental students at NYU College of Dentistry. The discussion was facilitated by a semistructured interview guide. Open-ended questions about participants’ perceived barriers to clinical competency in endodontics, experiences using YouTube to learn about clinical endodontics, and preferences for video format learning were asked. Demographic information was gathered. Thematic analysis of data was conducted and data collection was terminated once saturation was achieved. Results: Thirty fourth-year dental students were enrolled in the study. The majority, 96.7%, reported using YouTube as a learning tool for dental procedures and 83.3% to learn about endodontics, specifically. The following domains were explored during data analysis: barriers to clinical competency, YouTube uses/experiences, and content preferences. The following themes within barriers to clinical competency were identified: psychological, educational, and clinical. Within the YouTube domain, the following themes were examined: goals of use, timing and frequency of use, search strategies, benefit/ shortcomings of YouTube, and validity of content. Students primarily used YouTube to enhance confidence and understand procedural flow. Conclusion: YouTube videos were primarily used to help students overcome perceived educational and psychological barriers that resulted in gaps in confidence and knowledge of performing endodontic procedures. Dental students placed high value on easily accessible video content of limited duration, where clinical procedures were performed on live patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-735
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • clinical skills
  • dental education
  • educational technology
  • endodontics
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Dentistry


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