Perspective: Guidelines for Reporting Team-Based Learning Activities in the Medical and Health Sciences Education Literature

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Abstract

Medical and health sciences educators are increasingly employing team-based learning (TBL) in their teaching activities. TBL is a comprehensive strategy for developing and using self-managed learning teams that has created a fertile area for medical education scholarship. However, because this method can be implemented in a variety of ways, published reports about TBL may be difficult to understand, critique, replicate, or compare unless authors fully describe their interventions.

The authors of this article offer a conceptual model and propose a set of guidelines for standardizing the way that the results of TBL implementations are reported and critiqued. They identify and articulate the seven core design elements that underlie the TBL method and relate them to educational principles that maximize student engagement and learning within teams. The guidelines underscore important principles relevant to many forms of small-group learning. The authors suggest that following these guidelines when writing articles about TBL implementations should help standardize descriptive information in the medical and health sciences education literature about the essential aspects of TBL activities and allow authors and reviewers to successfully replicate TBL implementations and draw meaningful conclusions about observed outcomes.

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