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Wednesday, June 22 • 16:45 - 18:00
POSTER.45 - Team-based learning: An application of constructivist learning theory in healthcare education.

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Education requires students to develop critical thinking and effective team-work abilities. In constructivist learning theory the teacher is a guide to facilitate learning and learning should be active using relevant problems and group interaction. Teaching involves providing opportunities to expose inconsistencies between current understandings and new experiences therefore developing new mental schemes. Team-based learning (TBL) is a method that provides this opportunity.1

Research has shown positive outcomes with TBL including the development of critical thinking skills, team work enhancement, and increased quality of in class discussion and optimal learning outcomes.2 There is a significant increase in the students’ estimation of their “understanding of the principles of group work” over time. Studies have shown that TBL improves student performance on assessments especially for the academically weaker students.3

In TBL large classes taught by a single instructor are divided into teams. The instructor sets the learning objectives and designs the course into modules to address each objective. The modules consist of three phases. The first phase involves a prior learning assignment where the students study background material a week before of the learning session. In the second phase the students take a test as individuals and then again in their team using an Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IF-AT). The IF-AT is a scratch card that contains the correct answer for each question. Outstanding misconceptions around the factual content are then addressed. In the third phase of the process the students work in the teams to solve problems with multiple solutions that allow for debate of the correct answer. The instructor facilitates the discussion between teams as they debate.4

Conference participants will interact with the presenter who has used TBL in 8 offerings. Attendees will be able to recognize the components of TBL and appraise the method for usefulness in their own context.

  1. Hrynchak P., Batty H. (2012). The educational theory basis of team-based learning. Med Teach, 34 (10), 796-801.

  2. McInerney M.J., Fink L.D. (2003). Team-based learning enhances long-term retention and critical thinking in an undergraduate microbial physiology course. Microbiol Educ, 4, 3-12.

  3. Koles P.G., Stolfi A., Borges N.J., Nelson S., Parmelee D.X. (2010). The impact of team-based learning on medical students' academic performance. Acad Med, 85 (11), 1739-1745.

  4. Michaelsen L., Parmelee D., McMahon K., Levine R. (2008). Team-based learning for health professions education: A guide to using small groups to improving learning. Sterling Verginia: Stylus.


Patricia Hrynchak

Patricia Hrynchak is a clinical professor at the University of Waterloo, School of Optometry and Vision Science. She is an optometrist and holds a Master’s degree in Health Practitioner Teacher Education from the University of Toronto. She is the recipient of an Excellence in Science... Read More →

Wednesday June 22, 2016 16:45 - 18:00 EDT
Atrium, Physics & Astronomy Building Western University

Attendees (2)