Is a Team-based Learning Approach to Anatomy Teaching Superior to Didactic Lecturing?

Naghme Ghorbani, Saied Karbalay-Doust, Ali Noorafshan


Objectives: Team-based learning (TBL) is used in the medical field to implement interactive learning in small groups. The learning of anatomy and its subsequent application requires the students to recall a great deal of factual content. The aims of this study were to evaluate the students’ satisfaction, engagement and knowledge gain in anatomy through the medium of TBL in comparison to the traditional lecture method. Methods: This study, carried out from February to June 2012, included 30 physical therapy students of the Shiraz University of Medical Science, School of Rehabilitation Sciences. Classic TBL techniques were modified to cover lower limb anatomy topics in the first year of the physical therapy curriculum. Anatomy lectures were replaced with TBL, which required the preparation of assigned content, specific discussion topics, an individual self-assessment test (IRAT) and the analysis of discussion topics. The teams then subsequently retook the assessment test as a group (GRAT). The first eight weeks of the curriculum were taught using traditional didactic lecturing, while during the second eight weeks the modified TBL method was used. The students evaluated these sessions through a questionnaire. The impact of TBL on student engagement and educational achievement was determined using numerical data, including the IRAT, GRAT and final examination scores. Results: Students had a higher satisfaction rate with the TBL teaching according to the Likert scale. Additionally, higher scores were obtained in the TBL-based final examination in comparison to the lecture-based midterm exam. Conclusion: The students’ responses showed that the TBL technique could be used alone or in conjunction with traditional didactic lecturing in order to teach anatomy more effectively.


Learning; Anatomy; Physical Therapy Specialty; Education; Curriculum.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

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