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Faculty Education Initiatives

Houston, Texas

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Office of Faculty Development
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Team Based Learning

Team-Based Learning brings together theoretically-based and empirically-grounded strategies for ensuring the effectiveness of autonomous small-groups working independently in classes with high student-faculty ratios (e.g., up to 200:1) without losing benefits of faculty-led small groups with lower ratios (e.g., 7:1).

We also view Team-Based Learning as the codification of key instructional principles, each of which has value, even when applied outside the context of the Team-Based Learning method in its entirety.

Background Information

Rationale For Using Team-Based Learning In Medical Education

In general, the highest quality clinical care is delivered not by individuals, but by teams (eg, physicians, nurses, social workers, etc) where there is good communication and the team process is managed effectively. Unfortunately, reward systems in medical education tend to focus on individual student performance rather than team skills (e.g., course grading, licensure exams). Consequently, this system of rewards promotes behaviors counter to high quality clinical care in teams by fostering competition and ego-centrism.

While PBL has been introduced into medical education to foster, among other things, good team communication and problem-solving, it tends to require a low student to faculty ratio. We believe that Team-Based Learning can promote similar group behavior to PBL, but with high student to faculty ratios (an important characteristic in an environment where faculty time for teaching has been eroded). Furthermore, incentives which can be built into Team-Based Learning will help shift curriculum rewards toward effective team work, even in teams without the close oversight of a faculty tutor.

Resources for Educators Using Team-Based Learning

The Team-Based Learning Collaborative is a group of medical educators using team-based learning at their institution. Our purpose is to support other faculty implementing team-based learning, to share teaching resources, and to promote evaluation and research on team-based learning in medical education. Membership in the Collaborative is open to faculty with training in the team-based learning method or other experience with team-based learning. Membership includes access to Team Crossing, a website featuring a case bank, discussion forum, and other useful links. For more information or to join the Team-Based Learning Collaborative, go to

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