Millennial dental hygiene students' learning preferences compared to non-millennial faculty members' teaching methods: A national study

April M. Turner, Thomas J. Prihoda, Dana K. English, Aubreé Chismark, Mary E. Jacks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to compare the learning preferences of millennial dental hygiene students (born between 1982 and 2002) in the U.S. with the teaching methods used by their non-millennial instructors. Cross-sectional surveys were developed with 21-item, five-point Likert scales to examine students' preferences for and faculty use of lecture, collaborative activities, technology, independent work, and group discussion. Surveys were emailed to U.S. dental hygiene program directors in September 2015. The respondents totaled 800 students and 343 faculty members-approximately 5% of all dental hygiene students and 6.8% of all dental hygiene faculty members in the U.S. The results showed that the responding faculty members (88.7%) used case studies more than the students (61.2%) preferred and that the students (71.4%) preferred games when learning more than the faculty members (57.2%) used them (p<0.0001). Student respondents (82.1%) preferred handouts for lecture more than did the faculty respondents (58.8%; p<0.0001). Faculty respondents expected students to read before class 39.3% more than student respondents read (p<0.0001). Student respondents preferred study guides for exams 39.2% more than the faculty respondents provided them (p<0.0001). Participating faculty members (84.0%) had students work in groups more than these students preferred (57.8%), and 92% of these faculty members used group activities in class (p<0.0001). The responses of the millennial dental hygiene students in this study were consistent with previous research on millennial traits. This study found areas of disagreement between students and faculty members on the use of case studies, study guides, and group work. Although these students stated they preferred lecture over group work, trends in education stress using active learning over lecture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1082-1090
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Dental hygiene education
  • Faculty
  • Learning
  • Millennial learners
  • Students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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