Interprofessional Team Based Learning: A story from Athlone (Institute of Technology)

O'Brien, Anne Marie, O'Hanlon, David, Harding, Nuala, McKeown-Bennett, Michelle and Faller, Don (2021) Interprofessional Team Based Learning: A story from Athlone (Institute of Technology).


Team-based learning (TBL) is a structured form of small-group learning that emphasizes student preparation outside of class and application of knowledge in class. Students are organised strategically into diverse teams of 4-6 students that work together to solve problems throughout sessions. The TBL sequence helps to ensure that students come prepared for groupwork, are accountable to their team-mates and receive regular feedback from peers and lecturers.

At the start of 2020 and with the aid of the funding from the National Forum Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT) set out to develop and promote TBL within the college across all the faculties. This was to be a two-pronged approach looking at face to face TBL with associated physical resources in the form of a dedicated TBL space along side what we thought of as a niche online version of TBL. However as everyone now knows the world was turned upside down.

What we would like to present here is how we overcame that hurdle and in fact quickly turned to a fully online TBL. This is the story of the evolution of a pedagogy from its inception as “nice idea” to where we are now a few months later. We have established and Interdisciplinary TBL Community of Practice (TBL CoP) including an online support hub with enhanced practice through diversity. We have refined TBL implementation through consultation and research with students and staff. We have managed to cascade TBL expertise by delivering TBL workshops to staff and encouraging and supporting staff to become TBL consultant trainers. We have delivered seminars and workshops from International experts. We have trialed bespoke online TBL opensource software (LAMS) which we have integrated with Moodle. We are in the process of developing a Special Purpose Award (SPA) and have already linked staff TBL workshops with an AIT digital badge. We are developing open source teaching guides and templates which we hope to make available under creative commons license. We are in the process of evaluating the impact of our work and the evaluation will involve a mixed methods approach which will collect data on student engagement as well as motivation.

This project is ongoing but TBL is gaining traction and has been incorporated across the 4 years of a new pharmacology programme. This poster will illustrate the evolution of the project.

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