Performance and Perceptions of Pharmacy Students using Team-based Learning (TBL) within a Global Health Course

  • Joyce Addo-Atuah
Keywords: Team-based learning, TBL, active learning, self-directed learning, Global Health Course


Purpose: Team-based learning (TBL) has been shown to be a very useful active learning tool in a variety of disciplines and educational settings. The objectives of this study in a Global Health elective course within a PharmD curriculum were to (1) determine whether TBL contributes to performance (as measured by iRAT scores, tRAT scores, and grades); and (2) evaluate students' perceptions of TBL as an instructional strategy.

Case Study: TBL sessions were incorporated into a new elective course in Global Health along with other teaching methodologies. Student performance was evaluated during the TBL sessions and course team projects, among others. An anonymous student qualitative survey explored their perceptions of and experiences with TBL at the end of the course. Students' performance in the TBL sessions improved as reflected in the comparison of individual Readiness Assurance Tests (iRATs) and the team Readiness Assurance Tests (tRATs) scores. Overall students' performance in the course resulted in over 88% earning the letter grade A. Students' performance in the TBL sessions, especially their iRATs, was reflected in their overall course grades. Over 75% of the students believed that TBL increased their analytical skills and nearly 50% believed that learning utilizing TBL would have the most lasting effect on their careers.

Conclusion: TBL was successfully implemented in a Global Health elective course in a PharmD curriculum and students perceived it as a beneficial instructional strategy. This study adds to the TBL literature by providing some evidence of the applicability of TBL in a course not traditionally taught in the PharmD curriculum (i.e., Global Health). Future research and intervention(s) leading to the development and growth of TBL in pharmacy education are recommended.


Type: Case Study


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Received 2016-02-08
Published 2011-01-01