The Articulate Glossary

Prof Julia Davies 

O-Health Edu IO7 Lead


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

Articulate was developed as I07 of the Erasmus+ project “O-Health-Edu” with two distinct purposes in mind. 

Firstly, 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 (IO3, IO4, IO5, IO6 and IO8). 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 is an ongoing project and 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 feel free to give input and suggest improvements. Submissions will be reviewed regularly by the OHE taskforce. 

Click here to download a publication on the development of Articulate  

Glossary term randomiser

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

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

An officially recognised organisation that validates or certifies a professional, educational programme or institution against specified standards

A method sensitive to a previous learner's 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

Activities which engage a cohort of learners separately and/or at different times to one another

See DigEdDent resource

The process of assessing performance, quality or procedure against a set or expected minimum standard

A combination of remote and face-to-face, synchronous and asynchronous teaching methods to facilitate learning

Creative learning through purposeful play

A method where clinical cases are used to provide a realistic context to allow students to develop and apply their knowledge and reasoning skills

A student giving clinical assistance, to a colleague who is acting as the primary operator

The process of gathering, interpreting and evaluating patient-based information and the scientific evidence base, in order to make informed choices about patient care

An OHP who can work clinically and technically, to construct and provide dental devices to patients. Depending on their regulation, they may need to work to a prescription from a dentist.

Postgraduate study of 240 ECTS, 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 

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

The act of watching a health professional provide care or perform a procedure, within a real or simulated clinical environment

A facility that provides a safe and protected simulated environment in which a learner can 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 to teach/support students within a clinical or clinical-simulation environment

The ability to share information, ideas and feelings effectively with others, i.e. fellow students, the clinical team, 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

A professional behaviours or skill required by a graduating OHP in order to respond to the full range of circumstances encountered within their professional practice

Synonymous with

Competence; Competencies, Competences


This definition is derived from the 2010 version of the Graduating European Dentist curriculum

A programme of study focussing on attainment of specific skills, required in order to respond to a full range of circumstances that will be encountered within professional practice

Synonymous with


Problem-solving skills that involve reflecting on experiences and drawing on knowledge from other areas, to deepen understanding and inform judgement

Synonymous with

“Thinking outside the box”

The design of learning activities and assessment tasks to support the intended learning outcomes of a programme

Engagement in activities that update and broaden knowledge, skills and experience, throughout an OHP’s career

The active, systematic and balanced evaluation of evidence in order to provide an informed judgement

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 and resources, to the learning outcomes so as to ensure consistency throughout the curriculum.

Synonmyous with

Curriculum map

An entry programme or entry requirements relating specifically to individuals or groups with particular characteristics

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

An OHP 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 OHP 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 an institution that is responsible for teaching and administering dental and OHP programmes

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

An individual 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


EU directive 2005/36/EU

Link to occasions of use of the term Dental Practitioner in accordance with the EU directive

Synonymous with:

Dental practitioner, Dental Surgeon, General dentist, Dental Doctor

The direct delivery of teaching material from teacher to student, typically in lecture format with little student 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

An individual typically responsible for the design, implementation and quality assurance of curricula

Synonymous with:

Director of Education

The teaching of subjects as stand-alone subjects (i.e anatomy, physiology, biochemistry), rather than in a thematic way (e.g. oral health and disease, the oral ecosystem)

The range of variation within a group of people that relates to individual characteristics

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

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System - "ECTS is a tool for making studies and courses more transparent. It helps students to move between countries and to have their academic qualifications and study periods abroad recognised" 

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

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

A collection of patient health-related information in a digital format

A digital collection of evidence of an OHP's activities, performance and achievements

Strategic, holistic and long-term approaches committed to minimising the environmental impact of activities relating to oral healthcare and OHP education


European Qualifications Framework

A European Union-funded student exchange which happens during the clinical years of an OHP programme

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

The principles and values that govern an OHP's professional practice and behaviour

The application of the best available scientific knowledge from research as well as clinical practice and expertise, relevant to a 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 performance against an expected standard, with the aim of improving future performance

A teaching strategy for medium-to-large groups which aims to encourage active listening and reflection on alternative viewpoints. This approach requires the group to be clearly divided into two groups. Groups alternate between being inside the 'fishbowl' (involved in active discussion) and outside the 'fishbowl' (observing the discussion)

The ability of an OHP student or professional to provide safe and effective patient care. This ability is based on the knowledge, skills, behaviours and values expected of an OHP, which can be self- or externally-assessed

The ability of an OHP student to adequately engage/participate with a programme of study and the wider 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 student progression, typically relating to patient-based clinical activities

Elements of the curriculum or learning experience which are not explicitly communicated to students, or identified by the teaching staff

An establishment providing education up to EQF level 4

Synonymous with:

Secondary School, College

An assessment that has an impact on a student's progression at significant points within the programme

The ability to access, manage and use information appropriately, from a variety of sources for research, problem-solving, clinical care and decision-making, and CPD

A place of learning from which students graduate with a recognised qualification. For OHPs this would normally be a University (Higher Education), but it may also be a college or other place of Further Education

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

A process by which knowledge is primarily taught through an integrated approach for the entire programme of study

The ability of an individual to interact with others effectively within diverse and possibly complex situations

A process of quality assurance undertaken within an institution

A graduate qualifying from an institution in another EU member country (excluding the country in which the institution in question is situated)

A graduate not originating from an EU member country

An approach that involves learners from two or more professions, who actively contribute to a collaborative learning environment in order to improve patient-centred care

A structured conversation with a particular focus, where one or more participants asks questions to an applicant

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

An initiative to improve awareness and introduce OHP roles to young adults, who are still studying at EQF levels 1-4

Teachers recognised as still developing their experience within an academic environment - such as Lecturers, Clinical Fellows, Clinical Lecturers, Clinical Tutors, or 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 the intended learning outcomes

A series of individual and objective outcomes, with shared ownership between students and staff, designed to facilitate the learning and assessment process

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 recording video and/or audio streams of lectures or other synchronous teaching events, 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 process of assessing specific content repeatedly, or over a protracted period of time

Integration of teaching material into multiple learning events, throughout a programme

An assessment that, in itself, does not directly contribute to significant points of progression within a programme

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 OHP students' skills are tested against pre-defined standards on a circuit of scenarios structured to represent a variety of clinical situations

An optical microscope specifically designed to be used by OHPs during clinical procedures

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

An approach that aims to raise awareness, and encourage students, to actively promote oral health issues to wider stakeholders and decision makers

A qualified member of the Oral Healthcare team, i.e. any one of the following professionals:

Dentist Dental Nurse (assistant) Dental Therapist Dental Hygienist Dental Technician Synonymous with

Dental Care Professional

Dental Clinics 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 Education in some countries

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

An approach to care that considers patient needs, values and preferences, whilst ensuring that the patient is actively involved in the decision-making process

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

Synonymous with

Peer-assessment, peer-support

An approach where students assist with the instruction of other students


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

Mobile equipment 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 an accrediting body, or to work within a particular healthcare system

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

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

Postgraduate study of 120 ECTS of which at least 90 ECTS 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

A defined and purposeful learning activity that involves physical processes or purposeful play

A structured assessment designed to determine a person’s physical ability, either in relation to pre-defined criteria, or specific skills requirements

Non-operative practices designed to prevent oral disease

Synonymous with

Preventive care

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 initial instruction, followed by discussion and reflection, that makes future attempts more productive

Synonymous with

Productive learning

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 OHP, of planned participation in events or processes which support their training or career development goals/needs

Demonstration of commitment to a set of values, behaviours and relationships expected of an OHP, which help to maintain public trust in the relevant profession

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

Dedicated activities which allow learners to explore and experience the behaviour of materials, equipment and processes in a safe and protected environment

The systematic evaluation of OHP education, to improve quality, and ensure that programme standards are sufficient to meet necessary institutional and/or external regulatory requirements 

A lowering of the standard requirement (financial or academic) to allow entry onto an OHP programme

Synonymous with

Contextual offer

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

A process of thinking deeply and carefully about professional practices, so as to engage in a process of continuous and lifelong learning

A planned intervention to support learners who are failing to progress satisfactorily through their programme(s) of study

Active participation in clinical, epidemiological, experimental, or educational research 

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

A simulation methodology where students or educators enact roles and character presentations, to illustrate scenarios relevant to the educational or clinical setting

A graduating OHP 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

Homonymous connection

The term in this context should not be confused with its use in "The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning"

The range of procedures an OHP is permitted to perform under their specific level of professional registration/regulation

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

The ability to reflect on one’s own characteristics, including attitudes, skills and behaviours

Teachers recognised as holding significant experience within an academic environment - such as Professors, Associate Professors, Readers, Senior Lecturers, and 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 or progress of an activity in relation to the intended learning outcomes

Learning through participation and reflection on contextual, cultural, and authentic real-life activities

A method of evaluating a person’s responses and judgements, in relation to a range of specific scenarios

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

The responsibility of an OHP to raise awareness of their community's needs, and to act in their best interests, particularly in relation to the underserved and vulnerable populations

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

Defined by

World Health Organisation 

Attitudes and abilities relating to communication and interactions with others

A Dentist who has successfully completed a nationally-recognised 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 assessment

An individual, group, or organisation, recgonised as being affected by the decisions of another organisation; and who may provide insight and influence to shape such decisions

A dental school that governs itself, with no parent institution

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

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 examination would be a national requirement.

Funding received from government sources

Synonymous with

Public funding

A tool that uses narratives (stories) to enable students to develop the skill of critical reflection, and to develop as reflective practitioners

Synonymous with

Narrative pedagogy

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

A student’s perception of how satisfied they are with their educational experience and outcomes

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

Activities which engage a cohort of learners together, at the same time (i.e. a live teaching event)

See DigEdDent resource

Learning directly through observing someone who is drawing on their own personal experiences, which are difficult to rationalise/explain

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

A multi-dimensional 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 co-ordination and implementation of tasks and activities between different healthcare professionals

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

Synonymous with:

Prosthetic laboratory, Technical laboratory, Dental Technology laboratory

The period over which a member of staff holds a particular governance position

A topic within a curriculum that, when understood, results in fundamental changes in perception and practise of other parts of the subject/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 co-ordinated, purposeful and planned linkage of curriculum elements to learning activities so that basic skills and knowledge are developed and reinforced across a whole programme in a progressive manner e.g. the integration of basic sciences and clinical practice

The range of online facilities, services and learning resources provided 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 OHP student to work independently in a healthcare setting

The provision of services within the wider community by OHP students, 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 groups within a population

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