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ERIC Number: EJ1086308
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1368-2822
Five Heads Are Better than One: Preliminary Results of Team-Based Learning in a Communication Disorders Graduate Course
Epstein, Baila
International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, v51 n1 p44-60 Jan 2016
Background: Clinical problem-solving is fundamental to the role of the speech-language pathologist in both the diagnostic and treatment processes. The problem-solving often involves collaboration with clients and their families, supervisors, and other professionals. Considering the importance of cooperative problem-solving in the profession, graduate education in speech-language pathology should provide experiences to foster the development of these skills. One evidence-based pedagogical approach that directly targets these abilities is team-based learning (TBL). TBL is a small-group instructional method that focuses on students' in-class application of conceptual knowledge in solving complex problems that they will likely encounter in their future clinical careers. Aims: The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the educational outcomes and students' perceptions of TBL in a communication disorders graduate course on speech and language-based learning disabilities. Methods & Procedures: Nineteen graduate students (mean age = 26 years, SD = 4.93), divided into three groups of five students and one group of four students, who were enrolled in a required graduate course, participated by fulfilling the key components of TBL: individual student preparation; individual and team readiness assurance tests (iRATs and tRATs) that assessed preparedness to apply course content; and application activities that challenged teams to solve complex and authentic clinical problems using course material. Outcomes & Results: Performance on the tRATs was significantly higher than the individual students' scores on the iRATs (p < 0.001, Cohen's d = 4.08). Students generally reported favourable perceptions of TBL on an end-of-semester questionnaire. Qualitative analysis of responses to open-ended questions organized thematically indicated students' high satisfaction with application activities, discontent with the RATs, and recommendations for increased lecture in the TBL process. Conclusions & Implications: The outcomes of this pilot study suggest the effectiveness of TBL as an instructional method that provides student teams with opportunities to apply course content in problem-solving activities followed by immediate feedback. This research also addresses the dearth of empirical information on how graduate programmes in speech-language pathology bridge students' didactic learning and clinical practice. Future studies should examine the utility of this approach in other courses within the field and with more heterogeneous student populations.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A