Using team-based learning in teaching the principles of communication in medicine

Marta Velgan, Inga Karton

Keywords: Team-based learning, teaching communication


In 2017 we started teaching the principles of communication in medicine in the 2nd year of medical studies at the University of Tartu. When starting, we faced many problems which did not support students’ learning: a lot of students taking the course at once, big study groups and long contact seminars. In 2021 we restructured our course based on the principle of the team-based learning (TBL). Contrary to the traditional teaching model where the teacher assumes the central role and students are passive listeners, TBL participants are actively involved in the learning process. Teachers act as facilitators while the TBL participants work in groups to solve problems through engagement with their peers. Previous studies have found that TBL enhanced learners' engagement, collaborative spirit, and satisfaction. The aim of this study is to describe how the introduction of TBL to this course has changed medical students' assessment of this course.


To conduct the study we used the data obtained from medical students’ feedback that they are recommended to fill out in the study information system (SIS) at the end of the course. We used data from 2020 until 2023. The feedback questionnaire includes different statements that students have to rate on a scale 0-4 (0=does not apply, 1=strongly disagree, 2=disagree, 3=agree, 4=strongly agree) and a couple open ended questions (What helped you to study during this course?). The statistical analysis of the statements was conducted using SPSS and thematic analysis was used to analyse the answers for open ended questions.


In this study we included the feedback of 2nd year medical students at the University of Tartu from 2020 until 2023. The results of this study will be presented at the conference.


Points for discussion:

What are others experience with implementing TBL?


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