Effects of Team-Based Learning on short-term and long-term retention of factual knowledge

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Purpose: We investigated the effect of Team-Based Learning (TBL) on long-term retention of knowledge in comparison to a traditional curriculum.Methods: As TBL was incorporated into our curriculum in the 2008-2009 academic year, students were compared with those who received the traditional curriculum the year prior. Students in both the groups completed multiple-choice knowledge test at four time points spanning two years. Test performance was compared at each time point to assess changes in knowledge retention as a function of time.Results: Baseline knowledge did not differ significantly between the TBL and control groups [51% versus 46%; t(84) = 0.91, p = 0.37, d = 0.20]. Performance improved after the course for both the groups, but was significantly higher in the TBL group [79% versus 59%; t(84) = 4.96, p = 0.000004, d = 0.95]. However, when assessed prior to the pediatrics clerkship, learning gains from TBL had largely disappeared and the small difference in performance was not significant [57% versus 51%; t(84) = 1.51, p = 0.14, d = 0.32].Conclusion: Incorporating TBL into the pre-clinical pediatrics curriculum led to large gains in knowledge over the short-term, but these gains did not persist. Further research should focus on extending the impact of TBL on long-term knowledge retention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-311
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 3 2016


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