Team-based Learning in a Gross Anatomy Laboratory Improves Academic Performance, Student Perceptions of Teamwork and Fosters Quality Learning in Team Interactions

Purpose/Hypothesis : Two key goals in physical therapy education are to nurture in students a habit for life-long learning and an appreciation for team collaboration. One student-centered teaching approach developed to help foster these professional responsibilities is team-based learning (TBL). The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of TBL in a gross anatomy laboratory on academic performance, quality of learning in team interactions, and student perceptions of teamwork and TBL.Number of Subjects : 211Materials/Methods : Participants in this study were first year students enrolled in Gross Anatomy in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at the University of Central Arkansas during the academic years 2010-2013. The comparison group (n=102, enrolled 2010 or 2011) received a traditional lecture and laboratory curriculum (average of 3 hours cadaveric dissection, 3 hours prosection per week). The experimental group (n=109, enrolled 2012 or 2013) received the same curriculum with the exception of a substitution of TBL for 1.5 hours of cadaveric prosection per week. For evaluation of academic performance between groups, we compared the average written, practical, final examinations, and overall course grades. A Likert scale survey was administered to both groups to determine their perceptions of teamwork and TBL as a tool for learning gross anatomy. In addition, a separate Likert scale team performance survey (TPS) was administered to the experimental group to ascertain the quality of team learning experiences.Results : The experimental group scored significantly higher on 3 out of 4 individual written exams; upper extremity (p=0.015), lower extremity (p=0.013), and head and neck (p=0.001), and on the overall written exam average (p=0.004). In terms of team performance, the average score on the TPS was 97.4 out of 108 at midterm and 98.1 at course end. When comparing survey results between groups, the experimental group significantly rated perceptions of collaborating with peers as both positive (p<0.000) and necessary (p<0.000) and felt problem solving in a group was effective for learning (p<0.000). Also, the experimental group experienced growth throughout the course, improving their perceptions of teamwork as necessary for student success (p<0.000).Conclusions : Results from this study indicate that the use of TBL in a gross anatomy laboratory is beneficial for improving written examination scores as well as generating quality team learning experiences for physical therapy students. TBL also appears to significantly improve perceptions of teamwork.Clinical Relevance : Results from this study suggest TBL is effective for improving academic performance in gross anatomy. TBL also provides an opportunity for students to experience quality team learning which generates improved perceptions of teamwork and problem solving thus addressing the professional duties of team collaboration and life-long learning promoted by the Normative Model of Physical Therapist Professional Education.

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  • Control #: 2020826
  • Type: Platform
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Anita Killins, Tiffany Huitt
  • Keywords: Team-Based Learning|Gross Anatomy

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