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Published on 7th October 2020 by Premela

What exactly is Team-based learning (TBL) and what are the benefits? – Prof Olwyn Westwood from Brunel Medical School explains.

Team-based learning encourages teamwork and a little friendly competition which often raises the standard of individuals and the group itself

Whilst doing your Medical School research in the UK, you will no doubt discover each School will talk about their main method of teaching.

Typically, you will read about Problem Based Learning (PBL), traditional methods (i.e., lectures and seminars), and now Team-based-Learning (TBL) teaching styles. When making your Medical School choices it’s important for you to consider the teaching method that best suits you, and the one you will enjoy being a part of the most.

Here at Brunel University London, we use TBL as our main method of teaching. You will learn in small groups of 5-6 people facilitated by academics and TBL facilitators using TBL-enabled software. This creates a highly interactive, enjoyable and collaborative learning environment.

You will carry out some pre-study and then come together in your teams where your own knowledge will be assessed. You will learn and apply your knowledge together with fellow students from around the world.

Benefits of Team-based Learning

  • If you enjoy working in teams then you will benefit hugely from TBL at Medical School
  • Knowledge retention is much higher compared to other learning and teaching methods
  • You learn how to work effectively in teams under pressure
  • Engagement is considerably higher than other forms of teaching
  • You have the opportunity to apply scientific and medical knowledge to real-life clinical cases
  • Peer-to-peer learning, especially when amongst international students from around the world, allows groups to appreciate views and opinions, and thus to generate diverse ideas
  • TBL encourages teamwork and a little friendly competition which often raises the standard of individuals and the group itself
  • TBL inspires you to engage in your pre-study to avoid letting your teammates down and creates a sense of accountability for your learning
  • You will learn how to problem-solve and debate whilst developing life-long and essential, transferable skills that are relevant to medicine and life in general, e.g. teamwork, communications and interpersonal skills.

TBL steps:

1) Preparation
2a) In-class Individual Readiness Assurance Testing (iRAT)
2b) In-class Team Readiness Assurance Test (tRAT)
3) Application of core concepts
4) Peer Review

For more information on TBL and the different steps please see our Brunel Medical School TBL web page.

This post was created in collaboration with Brunel University London

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