Use of Established Guidelines When Reporting on Interprofessional Team-Based Learning in Health Professions Student Education: A Systematic Review

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Academic Medicine


Purpose Team-based learning (TBL) has gained popularity across the health professions, including in interprofessional contexts. The authors conducted this systematic review to summarize the published evidence regarding the extent, design, and practice of interprofessional TBL within health professions (including medical) degree programs to inform interprofessional education (IPE) educators and curricula designers. Method In June 2020, the authors searched PubMed Central, CINAHL, Web of Science, and ERIC for original research articles describing TBL programs with student representation from multiple health professions degree programs that were published between January 2010 and June 2020. Included articles underwent data extraction for study characteristics (e.g., country of origin, topics covered, class descriptors) and the 7 core design elements of TBL: team formation, readiness assurance, immediate feedback, sequencing of in-class problem solving, the 4 Ss (significant problem, same problem, specific choice, and simultaneous reporting), incentive structure, and peer review. Results Twelve articles were included. Significant variability was noted in the application and reporting of the 7 core design elements of TBL, which highlighted challenges to the implementation of interprofessional TBL. Conclusions Although the structured format of TBL provides a suitable pedagogy for IPE, this review identified challenges associated with the effective integration of IPE into TBL, including: the unequal distribution of students to teams as a result of there being multiple disciplines from different programs; varied levels of student experience with the pedagogy of TBL; a lack of resources required for large groups of students; timetabling requirements for multiple disciplines from different programs; inability to provide more than 1 TBL session; design of patient cases that suit multiple disciplines; alignment of topics within the curricula of multiple disciplines, programs, and universities; inequities in grading for different students within the same TBL program; and limited opportunity for peer review.

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