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Acad Med. 2009 Mar;84(3):340-6. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181972855.

Applying team-based learning in primary care residency programs to increase patient alcohol screenings and brief interventions.

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Medical Center of Central Georgia & Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, Georgia 31206, USA.



Educational research demonstrates little evidence of long-term retention from traditional lectures in residency programs. Team-based learning (TBL), an alternative, active learning technique, incites competition and generates discussion. This report presents data evaluating the ability of TBL to reinforce and enhance concepts taught during initial training in a National Institutes of Health-funded alcohol screening and brief intervention (SBI) program conducted in eight residency programs from 2005 to 2007 under the auspices of Mercer University School of Medicine.


After initial training of three hours, the authors conducted three TBL booster sessions of one and a quarter hours, spaced four months apart at each site. They assessed feasibility through the amount of preparation time for faculty and staff, residents' evaluations of their training, self-reported use of SBI, residents' performance on individual quizzes compared with group quizzes, booster session evaluations, and levels of confidence in conducting SBI.


After initial training and three TBL reinforcement sessions, 42 residents (63%) reported that they performed SBI and that their levels of confidence in performing interventions in their current and future practices was moderately high. Participants preferred TBL formats over lectures. Group performance was superior to individual performance on initial assessments. When invited to select a model for conducting SBI in current and future practices, all residents opted for procedures that included clinician involvement. Faculty found TBL to be efficient but labor-intensive for training large groups.


TBL was well received by residents and helped maintain a newly learned clinical skill. Future research should compare TBL to other learning methods.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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