Monday, March 10, 2014

Team-based learning

Teamwork Team-based learning (TBL) has been on the fringes of my attention for the last year or so, but has increased in prominence as we more towards the more practical implementation stages of our news second year key skills module, BS2000 "Research Topic".

Becoming popular in medical education, the evidence is growing that this strategy for delivery enhances student engagement and may be the best practical answer to meeting Chris Willmott's identification of "group work as opposed to team work" as a significant problem - in other words, a group being a collection of variably engaged individuals acting for their own benefit whereas true team work involves goals that individuals cannot achieve on their own. These two papers add a little more evidence to the pile, and while I've never found the often-requested evidence-based approach very effective in persuading colleagues to adopt new teaching methods, hopefully may go some way towards boosting my own confidence that we have selected the best strategy for this challenging new module.

Modified use of team-based learning in an ophthalmology course for fifth-year medical students. (2014) Advances in Physiology Education, 38(1), 46-48
"Approaches used in medical education have been changing, and a variety of new teaching strategies are now used in many schools to promote active learning. Many schools have reduced the number of lectures in favor of problem-based learning (PBL) approaches. However, despite its advantages, more faculty members and classrooms are needed for PBL to be effectively implemented, so that some universities consider PBL to be too expensive... Team-based learning (TBL) ... advocates self-directed learning of course content and student application of this new knowledge within small collaborative teams and full classroom discussions, thus promoting both low- and high-level learning. TBL requires constant student preparation, attendance, and participation and gives students the opportunity to learn from peers as well as how to work and negotiate within a team using features such as self-evaluation and peer evaluation... Classic TBL has four phases, where phase 1 involves out-of-class preparation, phase 2 involves in-class individual readiness assurance tests (IRATs) and group readiness assurance tests, phase 3 involves application exercises that consist of cases in the form of vignettes with a subset of questions related to the case and interteam discussion, and phase 4 involves postclass reflection."

Making students do the thinking: team-based learning in a laboratory course. (2014) Advances in Physiology Education, 38(1), 49-55
"TBL requires that instructors shift their paradigms: 1) the course goal shifts from knowing content to applying concepts, 2) the instructor shifts from delivering information to creating opportunities that will engage students in learning, 3) students shift from passive to active participants, and 4) the responsibility for learning shifts from the instructor to the student.
There are four essential elements of TBL: 1) student teams (teams are carefully formed and managed), 2) accountability (individuals are accountable for both their individual work and the quality of the teamwork) [via individual testing], 3) feedback (feedback is frequent and timely), and 4) assignment design (team assignments encourage learning, concept application, and teamwork)."

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