Prof Julia Davies 

O-Health Edu IO07 Lead 

Welcome to ‘Articulate’ the online interactive glossary
for Oral Health Professional’s Education in Europe. 

Articulate is conceived as part of Intellectual Output 07 of the Erasmus+ project “O-Health-Edu” with two distinct purposes in mind. 

Firstly, is it plays a central role in the O-Health-Edu project by providing clarity around terms in use in Oral Health Professional’s Education throughout Europe.  Having a shared understanding of such terms is critical in the data collection phase of this project.  Articulate is thus conceived as a means of enabling shared understanding of terms to improve the robustness of comparative data. 

Secondly, it is hoped that over time Articulate will facilitate clarity between stakeholder groups by clearly agreeing consensus definitions of core terms. Removing ambiguity around such terms means any associated misunderstanding will be minimised.

The definition of terms and how we understand them can evolve over time through an iterative process. Therefore, Articulate has been created to be interactive to allow users to make suggestions of term definitions and also to suggest new terms that need defining. We encourage you to search these terms and where necessary feel free to give input and suggest improvements.

Glossary term randomiser

Aims to raise awareness and encourages students to actively promote dental care and oral health issues to wider stakeholders and decision makers

A process by which it is possible to build three-dimensional objects from a computer-aided design model. 

The ability to effectively work, study and progress through a programme while coping with adverse circumstances

An officially recognized organization that validates or certifies a professional, educational programme or institution against specified standards.

A method sensitive to previous learner performance, which can be used to set thresholds for future assessments.

A systematic means of testing a person’s innate ability to perform particular tasks and react to a range of different situations.

The act of measuring quality or performance, for example student or cohort performance, to allow ranking and comparison.

A combination of digital and face-to-face teaching methods to deliver learning

Creative learning through purposeful play with materials and equipment, dental or otherwise

Real clinical cases are used as a construct to allow students to develop and apply their reasoning skills and existing theoretical knowledge.

Giving support or help to another individual, during a treatment clinic, usually by acting as a dental nurse/assistant

A process of gathering, interpreting and evaluating clinical and non-clinical information as a basis for comprehensive and evidence-based clinical activity.

Postgraduate study of 240ECTS, usually as a period of focussed specialist-level clinical activity at EQF level 8.

The acquisition of knowledge and skills in the context of clinical practice so as to develop competent practitioners.

The integrated structures, frameworks and approaches taken by professionals and organizations to ensure that clinical care is delivered in a responsible, accountable and transparent manner.

Opportunity to watch someone provide care as a health professional, or perform a technique or procedure within a real or simulated clinical environment

A facility that provides a safe and protected environment in which the learner can simulate and practice various clinical skills before using them in real clinical settings.

Synonymous with

Phantom head laboratory, Phantom head clinic, Pre-clinical laboratory

A person whose primary role is in teaching/supporting students within a clinical or clinical-simulation environment

An educational approach where students working together contribute their individual skills and knowledge to improve learning

The ability to share information, ideas and feelings effectively with others, i.e. fellow students, patients and their families, the community, and other healthcare workers.

Collaboration between higher or further education institutions and their wider communities, to improve awareness of oral health and the oral health care professions

Problem solving skills that involve reflecting on experiences and drawing on abstract concepts to deepen understanding and inform judgement.

Synonymous with “Thinking outside the box”

The alignment of learning activities and assessment tasks with the intended learning outcomes of a programme

The maintenance, updating and broadening of attitudes, knowledge, and skills throughout an oral health professional’s career. 

The essential knowledge and fundamental set of attitudes and skills required to perform competently in one's role as an oral healthcare professional.

Active and systematic evaluation, analysis and application of information as a guide to judgement and decision making.

Detail of a particular course of study, including learning outcomes, the students’ expected educational experiences, assessments, and formats for learning

A comprehensive plan that maps all elements e.g. learning activities, assessments, resources etc to the learning objectives so as to ensure consistency throughout the curriculum.

An entry programme or entry requirements devoted to individuals with particular characteristics

The place where OHPs (or OHP students) provide oral health care for patients

An oral health professional who helps patients maintain their oral health by preventing and treating periodontal disease and promoting good oral health practice.

Protected title:

Dental hygienist

EU directive 2005/36/EU

An oral health professional who provides clinical and other support to registrants (dentists, hygienists and therapists) and patients.

Protected titles:

Dental nurse, dental surgery assistant

EU directive 2005/36/EU

The unit within the institution that is responsible for teaching and administering dental and oral health professional programmes

An oral health professional who makes dental devices to a prescription from a dentist or clinical dental technician.

Protected titles:

Dental technician, dental technologist

EU directive 2005/36/EU

An oral health professional who carries out limited items of dental treatment direct to patients or under prescription from a dentist.

Protected title:

Dental therapist

EU directive 2005/36/EU

A device which allows the user to interact with virtual three-dimensional oral images or environments in a seemingly real way.

A dental professional who has successfully completed basic dental training and is licensed to perform all activities involving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of anomalies and diseases of the teeth, mouth, jaws and associated tissues.


Protected title


Synonymous with:

Dental practitioner, Dental Surgeon, General dentist

The direct delivery of academic information from teacher to student, typically in lecture format with little student interaction or engagement

The use of x-ray–sensitive plates or sensors, to capture image data and transfer it to a computer system to store, view and manipulate the image digitally.

The individual responsible for the design, implementation and quality assurance of the curriculum 


Director of Education

Teaching of subjects as stand-alone educational material (i.e. anatomy, physiology, biochemistry), rather than being taught in a thematic way (E.g. oral health and disease, the oral ecosystem)

The condition of being different or varied: variety 

Electronic books: books in digital form, often available online for multiple users

European Credit Transfer System

Postgraduate study of 240ECTS, usually as a period of independent research in workplace-based education at EQF level 8.

The scientific field of study that explores the modalities and effects of education and learning activities.

Collections of patient health information in a digital format.

A collection of evidence of an oral health professional’s activities, performance and achievements using a computer-based software.

Strategic, holistic and long-term approaches committed to minimizing the environmental impact of activities related to oral healthcare and oral health professional’s education.


European Qualifications Framework

European Union funded student exchange during the clinical years of an OHP programme

European Union funded student exchange during the pre-clinical years of an OHP programme

As applied to oral health professionals: The principles and values that govern a person's professional practice and behaviour

The application of the best available scientific knowledge from research as well as clinical practice and expertise, relevant to the patient’s needs and context.

A programme that offers students a period of study at another institution, often in another country, through partnerships such as Erasmus+ or an individual agreement between institutions. 

A process of quality assurance undertaken from outside the institution in question.

The provision of information regarding a student’s observed performance and the expected standard, so as to improve the student’s performance.

A teaching strategy for medium-to-large groups aimed at encouraging listening and reflection on alternative viewpoints. Dividing the class into two, groups alternate between being inside (discussing) and outside (observing) the fishbowl.

An oral healthcare student or professional’s ability to provide safe and effective patient care. This ability is based on the knowledge, skills, behaviors and values related to an oral healthcare profession.

A student’s ability to engage/participate with a programme of study and wider higher education environment

An approach where students acquire knowledge before a synchronous teaching event, and use formal teaching time to discuss, evaluate and apply concepts through interaction with each other and a teacher.

Employed by an institution for at least 30 hours (10 clinical sessions, or half days) per week

An activity (e.g. module, course, assessment or programme of study) that regulates access to advanced levels of study or activities

Elements of the curriculum or learning experience, not explicitly communicated, that result in the transmission (sometimes unintentional) of norms, values, and beliefs of the stakeholders.

An institution providing education up to EQF level 4

Synonymous with:

Secondary School, College

An assessment that has an important outcome impact on a decision about a student, educator or institution.

The ability to access, manage and use information from a variety of sources for research, problem-solving, decision-making and continued professional development.

A place of learning from which students graduate with a recognized qualification. For OHPs this would normally be a University, but it may also be a college or other place of further education.

Teaching of subjects in a thematic way (E.g. oral health and disease, the oral ecosystem), rather than teaching as individual stand-alone subjects.

A curriculum in which knowledge is taught through concepts which draw together different knowledge domains, rather than as distinct subject areas

The behaviors and tactics used by a person to interact with others effectively within diverse and possibly complex situations

A process of quality assurance undertaken within an institution, without external input.

Graduates originating from other EU member countries (excluding the country in which the dental school in question is situated)

Graduates not originating from EU member countries

A type of education that involves educators and learners from 2 or more professions who jointly create and foster a collaborative learning environment for a more person-centred health care.

A structured conversation where one or more participants asks questions and the applicant(s) provides answers.

A method for capturing direct optical impressions of the intra-oral tissues

Initiatives to improve awareness and introduce the oral health professions to young adults, who are still studying at EQF levels 1-4

Lecturers, clinical fellows, clinical lecturers, clinical tutors, visiting practitioners - involved in the delivery of OHP education

A systematic process to collect and evaluate information on what knowledge, skills and competencies an individual or group needs to achieve to meet the learning objectives

A resource where all necessary learning material for a specific topic is available in a consolidated place, accessible for the duration of the programme of study

The process of capturing video and/or audio streams of lectures and making them available digitally.

All learning activity, education and training, formal and informal, undertaken throughout an OHP’s professional career that results in an improvement in knowledge, skills and competences.

The administration of assessments of specific content repeatedly over time.

The administration of assessments of specific content repeatedly over time.

Integrated into multiple learning events throughout a programme

An assessment that in itself has a minimal outcome impact on a decision about a student, educator or institution, but may have a high impact over time.

Postgraduate study of 180 ECTS of which at least 120 must be at EQF level 7

Credits for approved prior learning (APL) may mean that a masters programme may be completed in a shorter than usual timeframe

An interview format that uses short independent assessments, typically in a timed circuit, to obtain an aggregate score relating to interpersonal, communication, observational and judgement skills.

The provision of oral care that does not involve the irreversible manipulation of hard or soft tissues, such as the delivery of preventive advice, application of topical medicaments and debridement and prophylaxis of the hard tissue surfaces

An examination where a student’s skills are tested against pre-defined standards on a circuit of scenarios structured to represent a variety of clinical situations.

Optical microscopes specifically designed to be used in dental clinical settings.

Oral health treatment that involves the removal or manipulation of hard or soft tissues, typically under local anesthesia. Examples include operative caries management, the placement of restorations and periodontal therapy.

A qualified member of the oral health care team

Dental practices that allow undergraduate students to provide oral health care to a population geographically distant from the University’s main dental school or hospital. On occasion, outreach practices may focus on serving the needs of specific groups of patients. 

Synonymous with:

Vocational Training in some countries

Employed by an institution for less than 30 hours (or 10 clinical sessions) per week

An approach to care that is respectful of, and responsive to, patient preferences, needs and values, and ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions.


The evaluation of a student’s scientific, academic, or professional work by other students.

Synonymous with

Peer assessment, peer support

The practice of having students who assist with the instruction of other students.


Postgraduate study of 240 ECTS, usually as a period of independent research at EQF level 8.

Small devices such as phones, personal computers, laptops or tablets.

The practice of preferential selection of individuals based on specific protected characteristics

A period of training for graduates of primary dental degree programmes to meet the requirements established by accrediting bodies, or to work within a particular healthcare system.

The existence of post-graduate vocatational training is not ubiquitous across Europe

Postgraduate study of 60ECTS of which at least 40 must be at EQF level 7

Postgraduate study of 120 ECTS of which at least 90 must be at EQF level 7

Credits for approved prior learning (APL) may mean that a diploma may be obtained in a shorter than usual time frame

Exercises that permit students to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to successfully perform practical, hands-on tasks

An objectively assessed test designed to determine a person’s ability to use their hands in a skillful, coordinated way, in relation to pre-defined criteria

Non-operative practices designed to prevent oral disease

A course of study resulting in qualification as a dentist

Synonymous with


Funding received from non-government sources

A student-centered teaching philosophy in which the learning is driven by the students solving an authentic problem, often in small groups with a facilitator

A learning approach whereby students attempt to solve problems without explicit instruction, followed by discussion and reflection that makes future attempts more productive

A process that results in the registration or licensing of an individual to practice in a particular oral health profession.

An outline or schedule made by an oral health professional, of their required continuing professional development

A commitment to a set of values, behaviours and relationships, which underpin the trust that the public hold in dental care professionals.

A recognised course of study that provides a coherent learning experience and normally leads to a qualification

Characteristics by which individuals are protected against discrimination: age, culture, diversity of background and opportunity, disability, gender, language, religion and sexual orientation

The systematic monitoring and evaluation of learning and teaching, and the processes that support them, to make sure that the standards of academic awards meet the Expectations set out in the Quality Code, and that the quality of the student learning experience is being safeguarded and improved.


A lowering of the standard requirements (financial or academic) to allow entry onto OHP programmes

Synonymous with

Contextual offer

A methodology where students record longitudinal information about educational activity, often supported by a reflective framework.

Thinking deeply and carefully about your professional practices so as to engage in a process of continuous and lifelong learning.

Active participation in clinical, epidemiological or experimental research studies

A laboratory where students or staff can engage in experimental or applied research

A simulation methodology where students or educators play characters to illustrate scenarios relevant to the educational or clinical setting.

A graduating oral healthcare professional who can demonstrate the range of capabilities expected within their scope of practice whilst still developing skills in, and through, self-reflection and lifelong learning.

A grant or payment made to support a student’s education, which does not need to be paid back to the donor.

Synonymous with

Bursary, Award, Stipend

Designated areas of oral healthcare in which a registered professional is permitted to provide for patients.

The evaluation of oneself or one’s actions, attitudes or performance in relation to pre-defined objective criteria

A focus on one’s own characteristics including attitudes, skills and behaviours

Professors, Associate professors, readers, senior lecturers, senior clinical teachers - involved in the delivery of OHP education

Following someone and observing in order to learn

Providing directions to the learner about the aims of an activity in relation to the intended learning outcomes.

Learning through participation in contextual, cultural, and authentic real-life activities.

A method of evaluating a person’s responses and judgement in relation to a range of scenarios.

An educational approach that involves students working together in groups of up to 8, to undertake tasks and achieve specific learning objectives.

How dental schools organize education, research and service activities to address the needs of their community, region and nation and in particular, their underserved and vulnerable populations.

The conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age. These conditions influence a person’s opportunity to be healthy, his/her risk of illness and life expectancy.

Skills relating to communication and interaction with others

A dentist who has successfully completed a nationally-recognized training programme and is registered as a specialist with the national regulator or equivalent.

Synonymous with:

Specialist dental practitioner

A formative assessment that requires students to interpret visual artefacts (e.g. images, specimens) – typically in relation to anatomical structures, pathological conditions or diseases.

synonymous with steeplechase

An individual, group of persons or organization that can provide insight to and influence, or has an interest in the decisions of another organization

A dental school that governs itself, with no parent institution

The process whereby clear and defined boundaries of performance are set for an assessment

Funding received from government sources

A licensing examination that future OHPs are required to pass to be allowed to register to work in their profession, after graduating from the primary degree programme.

Typically a licensing exam would be a national requirement.

A tool that uses reflexive or fictional narrative to enable students to develop professionalism with a more humanistic understanding and empathic approach to care.

 synonymous with narrative pedagogy

How “ready” a given student is to engage in educational or clinical activity.

A student’s perception of their educational experience and outcomes

Services providing general information, advice and welfare support for studens and staff of the institution in relation to, for instance, disability, mental health, counselling and educational opportunities.

Learning that is difficult to transfer to others as it is obtained through personal experience

A method of assessing if a student understands a concept by asking them to explain it back to an educator or group

A multidimensional concept integrating approaches that contribute to good student learning experiences and outcomes either through direct influence on the students, or indirectly through staff development or institutional policy.

Persons whose primary function is to provide teaching within the institution.

Synonymous with:


The coordination and implementation of tasks and activities between different healthcare professionals

A laboratory facility that provides a safe and protected environment in which the learner can practice various technical skills before using them to create devices for patients.

Synonymous with:

Prosthetic laboratory, Technical laboratory

Period within which a member of staff holds a particular governance position

This is a description!

Topics within a curriculum that, when understood, result in fundamental changes in perception and practise of the wider discipline.

A subset of the population that is inadequately represented in relation to OHP education

A course of study within higher education aimed at preparing a student for entry to a primary dental degree programme

Synonymous with

Foundation programme

The coordinated, purposeful and planned linkage of curriculum elements to previous learning activities so that basic skills and knowledge are developed and reinforced across a whole programme in a progressive manner. For example, the integration of basic sciences into the clinical environment. 

The coordinated, purposeful and planned linkage of curriculum elements to previous learning activities so that basic skills and knowledge are developed and reinforced across a whole programme in a progressive manner. For example, the integration of basic sciences into the clinical environment. 

Online facilities and services offered by a higher education institution

An educational online platform that contains digital resources related to a course or programme of study.

The provision of hands-on, job-specific education and experience in the workplace that prepares an oral health professional to work unsupervised in a healthcare setting

Activity whereby OHP students provide services within the wider community for no financial gain, as a recognised part of their studies.

The act of making a protected disclosure of information about actions that are unlawful or not in the best interests of others

Measures aimed at addressing the discrepancies in higher education opportunities between different social groups

Synonymous with:

Widening access

An evaluation based in a normal practice environment, often used to assess professional competence.

A form of assessment that requires students to respond in writing. The format can be paper-based or digital.