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Team-Based Learning in a Pipeline Course in Medical Microbiology for Under-Represented Student Populations in Medicine Improves Learning of Microbiology Concepts

    Authors: K. C. Behling1,‡, M. M. Murphy1,‡, J. Mitchell-Williams1, H. Rogers-McQuade1, O. J. Lopez1,*
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    Affiliations: 1: Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, NJ 08103
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 370-379. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1083
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    Abstract:

    As part of an undergraduate pipeline program at our institution for students from underrepresented minorities in medicine backgrounds, we created an intensive four-week medical microbiology course. Team-based learning (TBL) was implemented in this course to enhance student learning of course content. Three different student cohorts participated in the study, and there were no significant differences in their prior academic achievement based on their undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and pre-course examination scores. Teaching techniques included engaged lectures using an audience response system, TBL, and guided self-directed learning. We hypothesized that more active learning exercises, irrespective of the amount of lecture time, would help students master course content. In year 2 as compared with year 1, TBL exercises were decreased from six to three with a concomitant increase in lecture time, while in year 3, TBL exercises were increased from three to six while maintaining the same amount of lecture time as in year 2. As we hypothesized, there was significant ( < 0.01) improvement in performance on the post-course examination in years 1 and 3 compared with year 2, when only three TBL exercises were used. In contrast to the students’ perceptions that more lecture time enhances learning of course content, our findings suggest that active learning strategies, such as TBL, are more effective than engaged lectures in improving student understanding of course content, as measured by post-course examination performance. Introduction of TBL in pipeline program courses may help achieve better student learning outcomes.

Key Concept Ranking

Bacterial Metabolism
0.44806015
Innate Immunity
0.43569687
Adaptive Immunity
0.4334266
Infectious Diseases
0.40246752
0.44806015

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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1083
2016-12-02
2017-03-29

Abstract:

As part of an undergraduate pipeline program at our institution for students from underrepresented minorities in medicine backgrounds, we created an intensive four-week medical microbiology course. Team-based learning (TBL) was implemented in this course to enhance student learning of course content. Three different student cohorts participated in the study, and there were no significant differences in their prior academic achievement based on their undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and pre-course examination scores. Teaching techniques included engaged lectures using an audience response system, TBL, and guided self-directed learning. We hypothesized that more active learning exercises, irrespective of the amount of lecture time, would help students master course content. In year 2 as compared with year 1, TBL exercises were decreased from six to three with a concomitant increase in lecture time, while in year 3, TBL exercises were increased from three to six while maintaining the same amount of lecture time as in year 2. As we hypothesized, there was significant ( < 0.01) improvement in performance on the post-course examination in years 1 and 3 compared with year 2, when only three TBL exercises were used. In contrast to the students’ perceptions that more lecture time enhances learning of course content, our findings suggest that active learning strategies, such as TBL, are more effective than engaged lectures in improving student understanding of course content, as measured by post-course examination performance. Introduction of TBL in pipeline program courses may help achieve better student learning outcomes.

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Figures

Image of FIGURE 1

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FIGURE 1

Distribution of undergraduate GPA amongst students participating in the Medical Microbiology course during years 1, 2, and 3 of the study. A comparison of the distribution of undergraduate GPA amongst the three years of the study was performed using analysis of variance (ANOVA), showing no statistical difference amongst the three groups ( = 0.317). The upper and lower limits of each box represent the 75 and 25 percentiles of the data, respectively, while the upper and lower whiskers represent the 90 and 10 percentiles, respectively. Data points outside of the whiskers, the outliers, are represented by solid circles. The horizontal line within each box represents the median. GPA = grade point average.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 370-379. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1083
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Image of FIGURE 2

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FIGURE 2

Average and standard deviation of iRAT (panel A) and gRAT (panel B) scores for each TBL in Years 1, 2, and 3. There were three TBL exercises in year 2 (checkered, TBL 1, 2, and 3) and six TBL exercises in years 1 and 3 (black and grey bars, respectively). The iRAT and gRAT exercises have a maximal possible score of 10. Error bars reflect the standard deviation of scores for the iRAT (panel A) and gRAT (panel B) exercises in each TBL session. iRAT = individual readiness assessment test; gRAT = group readiness assessment test; TBL = team-based learning.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 370-379. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1083
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Change in percentage of students answering questions correctly between the pre-course and post-course examinations. The distribution of changes in the percentage of students answering each question correctly between the pre-course and post-course examinations was examined using a one way analysis of variance followed by a pairwise multiple comparison (Student-Newman-Keuls). This analysis showed that there was a significant difference in the distributions between years 1 and 2 ( < 0.0007) and years 2 and 3 ( < 0.0039) but not between years 1 and 3. There was no significant difference in the distribution of p values when comparing years 1 and 3 ( < 0.1820). The upper and lower limits of each box represent the 75 and 25 percentiles of the data, respectively, while the upper and lower whiskers represent the 90 and 10 percentiles, respectively. Data points outside of the whiskers, the outliers, are represented by solid circles. The horizontal line within each box represents the median.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 370-379. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1083
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Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

Change in percentage of students answering questions correctly between the pre-course and post-course examinations according to Bloom’s taxonomy classification. The distribution of changes in the percentage of students answering each Bloom’s taxonomy level 1 (remember) (A) or Bloom’s taxonomy levels 2, 3, and 4 (understand, apply, and analyze) (B) questions correctly between the pre-course and post-course examinations was analyzed using a one way analysis of variance. In the case of the Bloom’s taxonomy level 2, 3, and 4 questions, this was followed by a pairwise multiple comparison (Student-Newman-Keuls). For the Bloom’s taxonomy level 1 questions, there was no significant difference in the distributions between years 1, 2, and 3 ( = 0.213). For the Bloom’s taxonomy level 2, 3, and 4 questions, there was a significant difference in the distributions between years 1 and 2 ( = 0.001) and years 2 and 3 ( < 0.001) but not between years 1 and 3 ( = 0.587). The upper and lower limits of each box represent the 75 and 25 percentiles of the data, respectively, while the upper and lower whiskers represent the 90 and 10 percentiles, respectively. Data points outside of the whiskers, the outliers, are represented by solid circles. The horizontal line within each box represents the median. statistical difference amongst the three groups ( = 0.317). The upper and lower limits of each box represent the 75 and 25 percentiles of the data, respectively, while the upper and lower whiskers represent the 90th and 10th percentiles, respectively. Data points outside of the whiskers, the outliers, are represented by solid circles. The horizontal line within each box represents the median. GPA = grade point average.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2016 vol. 17 no. 3 370-379. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i3.1083
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