Team Based Learning in Medical Education

Team Based Learning (TBL)

TBL is a active group of small group learning that involves small groups and is less resource intensive to run than problem based learning (PBL). It is often used in business education.

According to Burgess et al (2017) medical schools have long used a variety of approaches to develop hybrid PBL curricula.

However, Team-based learning (TBL), has gained recent popularity in medical education – highlighted by Professor Jane Bleasel’s workshop at AMEE 2019.

TBL maintains the advantages of small group teaching and learning, but in contrast to Problem-based learning (PBL), does not require large numbers of tutors.

Mostly used in USA historically but now adopted in Australia in early stages of postgraduate medical program…

There are 7 core design elements

(Haidet 2012):

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A typical TBL might have 3 facilitators for 60 students with division into 12 groups of students. Over the course of a teaching block students stay in the same group.  During the course of the TBL they complete pre-course work and questions.

On site the students work through a team test – losing marks for each wrong attempt – of note this provides motivational competition and determination in the group.

An Example of TBL in action

Practical Considerations

  • Avoid the room becoming 12 PBL groups – need to emphasises team components of the work
  • Facilitation is key – engaging students directly can be useful if they are getting distracted
  • Scratch cards are a nice way to score the questions, no technology failure risks and has been studied as “fun” way to get feedback


One thought on “Team Based Learning in Medical Education

  1. Answer cards allow team voting on various group questions…

    Dealing with quiet students can also be an issue. Various strategies may work. Rotation of spokesperson can be rotated or you can call on quieter students.

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