Objectives: To examine whether introduction of Team-based Learning (TBL) improves student learning resulting in improved performance on final examination questions and decreased failures in an infectious diseases course.
Methods: To improve mastery of course content, we designed an intervention, which provided weekly TBL exercises in study years 2 and 3 to review concepts presented during didactic lectures and laboratory exercises. The remaining course structure and content was essentially unchanged. All students taking the course (n=50 in year 1, n=64 in year 2, and n=72 in year 3) participated in this study. Student final examination performance and performance on individual final examination questions were collected and analyzed for changes in response to the study intervention.
Results: Addition of weekly TBL exercises improved student performance on the course final examination as demonstrated by a statistically significant increase in the distribution of correct answer percentages for questions in common between the final examinations in years 1 and 2 and between years 1 and 3 (t(99) = 3.1454, p<0.05 and t(99) = 4.1268, p<0.01, respectively; Student-Newman-Keuls). There was no statistical difference (t(97) = 0.9814, p> 0.05; Student-Newman-Keuls) in the distribution of correct answer percentages between years two and three. There was also a decrease in final examination failures in years two and three.
Conclusions: The results suggest that TBL could be used to improve mastery and retention of course content in a preclinical infectious diseases course. Weekly exercises allow students to identify and ameliorate weaknesses in understanding and make adjustments early in the course.
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