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Team-Based Learning


By combining Team-Based Learning (TBL) with clinical exposure from the first year, Brunel Medical School takes a truly innovative approach towards learning medicine.

We are among the few medical schools in the world to use TBL as a significant method for classroom instruction. We intend to utilise the experience and expertise of our existing community of TBL practitioners to support the development of the MBBS curriculum.  Our MBBS students will learn in small groups of 6 people facilitated by academics and TBL facilitators using TBL-enabled software. This will create a highly interactive and collaborative learning environment for our students. 

TBL Icon                                                                               

In TBL, students carry out some pre-study and then come together with a team of peers. They first assess their own knowledge before working with their team to consolidate learning together.

Students remain in the same small group for a period of time to create strong bonds so that peer-to-peer learning flourishes.

Benefits of Team-Based Learning at Brunel Medical School 

  • Students quickly learn how to work effectively in teams under pressure
  • Student engagement is considerably higher than other forms of teaching
  • Students have the opportunity to apply scientific and medical knowledge to real-life clinical cases
  • Peer-to-peer learning, especially when amongst international students from around the world, allows groups to generate very diverse ideas, views and opinions
  • Knowledge retention is much higher compared to traditional learning and teaching methods
  • TBL encourages a little friendly competition which often raises the standard of individuals and the group itself
  • TBL also encourages individuals to engage in the pre-study to avoid letting their team mates down and create a sense of accountability for their learning
  • Students learn how to problem solve and debate whilst developing life-long, transferable essential skills that are highly relevant to medicine and life in general; e.g. teamwork, communications and interpersonal skills
  • Students are able to take ownership of their own learning by making their own assessment as to how well they are progressing compared to other members in the group.              

Team-Beasd Learning phases

1) Preparation 

Students, on their own, study course content outside of class either by online/offline reading, or listening to/watching pre-recorded lectures.

2a) In-class Individual Readiness Assurance Testing (iRAT)

In class, students independently complete a short multiple-choice test or quiz based on their preparation study.

2b) Team Readiness Assurance Test (tRAT) 

Students then gather in their own groups and using TBL-enabled software, retake the test and record their answers.

3) Application of course concepts

Finally, again working in their groups, students collectively solve problems by applying their knowledge to real-life medical situations. It is here that academics facilitate a classroom discussion to help draw conclusions and to strengthen the learning of the session.  

We will also have medical and health professional experts and patients involved in some sessions to help students understand the clinical application of the knowledge you are learning to the work of the doctor.

4) Peer Review

Students will be encouraged to give and receive constructive feedback, a skill set required in the work place where health professionals are expected to work with teams from several disciplines. We intend to develop a process to enable our students to highlight the positive behaviours of their peers and develop the skills of constructive feedback.


Biosciences TBL 2

Biomedical Science example of TBL


What we expect from our students

Students are expected to attend all TBL sessions, whether on-line or in class. There will usually be two full days of TBL sessions per week during each term in the first two years of the course.

At the beginning of each TBL session, students take part in a quiz to test their understanding of the learning material which they will have studied in advance of the class.  The quiz usually contains 20-25 questions and lasts 30–60 minutes. The quiz results count towards the assessment of student performance. The rest of the day will involve working in teams. 

Students are assigned to a team of 6 students at the beginning of the academic year and will remain in their team for the whole year.

For on-line TBLs, teams will be working in Zoom break-out rooms. Cameras will need to be on during TBL sessions as visual contact is important for establishing team coherence and effective team working. It is also important for checking on classroom participation by our facilitators and teachers. 

Students will be expected to dress appropriately and professionally in class and on-line as they should consider themselves members of the health profession right from the start of the MBBS course. A professional approach is important as students may be interacting daily with clinicians, academics, patients and other health professionals.