Abstract

Aim: Evidence suggests that Team Based Learning (TBL) is an effective teaching method for promoting student learning. Many people have also suggested that TBL supports other complex curriculum objectives, such as teamwork and communication skills.  However, there is limited rigorous, substantive data to support these claims. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess medical educators’ perceptions of the outcomes affected by TBL, thereby highlighting the specific areas of TBL in need of research.

Methods: We reviewed the published research on TBL in medical education, and identified 21 unique claims from authors regarding the outcomes of TBL.  The claims centred on 4 domains: learning, behaviours, skills, and wellbeing. We created a questionnaire that asked medical educators to rate their support for each claim.  The survey was distributed to the medical educators with experience teaching via TBL and who were active users of the Team Based Learning Collaborative listserv.

Results: Fifty responses were received.  Respondents strongly supported claims that TBL positively impacts behaviours and skills over traditional, lecture based teaching methods, including the promotion of self-directed learning, active learning, peer-to-peer learning, and teaching. In addition, respondents strongly supported claims that TBL promotes teamwork, collaboration, communication and problem solving.  Most participants reported that TBL is more effective in promoting interpersonal, accountability, leadership and teaching skills.

Conclusion: Medical educators that use TBL have favourable perceptions of the practice across a variety of domains.  Future research should examine the actual effects of TBL on these domains.

Keywords:      Team based learning; Medical education; Teaching

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