The Effectiveness of Engaged Learning: 8 Years of TBL in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry Clerkships

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Purpose: Wright State University (WSU BSOM) has a long track record of utilizing team-based learning (TBL) as a primary pedagogy during the pre-clinical years of medical school. Due to its success, select clerkship directors incorporated TBL into the third year. This study investigates whether the incorporation of TBL into clerkship curricula is associated with improved scores on end-of-clerkship National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) subject examinations. Methods: For the eight-year period of 2007–2008 through 2014–2015 at WSU BSOM, two TBL clerkships and three teacher-centered clerkships were compared to national performance on NBME end-of-clerkship test scores. The paired t test was used to compare results to national scores. Results: For the eight-year period, students in the two TBL clerkships scored higher than corresponding national samples on the end-of-clerkship NBME test (internal medicine: 80.21 ± 0.37 vs. 77.16 ± 0.46, p < 0.001; psychiatry: 81.73 ± 0.95 vs. 79.56 ± 0.86, p < 0.001). Conclusions: BSOM student performance on both the internal medicine and psychiatry NBME exams has been above the national mean since the inception of TBL into those curricula while three teacher-centered clerkships showed no difference. A TBL curriculum provides sustained improvement in knowledge-based performance.



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