Team-based learning (TBL) is an instructional method that fosters a more thorough understanding of concepts versus memorization of facts.  Utilizing group work to promote active learning, TBL encourages learners to apply core content knowledge to work through exercises as a team.

Learners actively engage with the TBL format as each team member is held accountable not only to an understanding of the core material but also to contributing to the overall team and in-class discussions.

In the TBL method, learning occurs primarily from team members justifying their answers to each other through the use of application exercises and/or quiz type questions, while faculty serves as content experts. TBL takes advantage of the fact that the collective wisdom of a group exceeds that of each individual in the group.

Aquifer cases, from a variety of courses, can be used for Team-Based Learning.

For example, Aquifer Pediatrics has Active Learning Modules and Questions for Further Consideration that can be used as application exercises.  The Basic Science questions, within Aquifer Pediatrics, provide useful prompts for integration of core principles into clinical care in the context of each the Aquifer Pediatric cases. These are basic science “tools” that provide one to two-page refreshers of the scientific principles for teaching clinicians.

Similarly, Aquifer Geriatrics cases can be used for TBL, by having students open a case and work through the case questions as a team.


Team-Based Learning Collaborative 


Michaelsen LK, Knight AB, Fink LD, eds. Team-based learning: A transformative use of small groups.  Westport, CT: Praeger; 2002

Michaelsen LK, Parmelee DX, McMahon KK, Levine RE, editors. Team-Based Learning for Health Professions Education: A Guide to Using Small Groups for Improving Learning. Sterling [VA]:  Stylus Publishing, LLC;  2007