The Effect of Team-Based Learning on Conventional Pathology Education to Improve Students’ Mastery of Pathology

Bin Du, Xuesong Yang


In recent decades, traditional pathology education methodologies have been noticeably affected by new teaching approaches, including problem-based learning (PBL) and team-based learning (TBL). However, lack of outcome-based studies has hindered the extensive application of the TBL approach in the teaching of pathology in Chinese medical schools. In this study, a pilot TBL format on four topics in pathology was implemented in one session with medical students at Jinan University Medical School and the previous sessions of medical students were able to function as controls. The final exam scores of TBL participants were significantly higher than the scores for non-participants, indicating that the students demonstrated better academic performance at the end of the TBL class. In addition, the follow-up questionnaires revealed that the majority of the TBL participants spent more time studying and were actively and enthusiastically involved in TBL activities. The new teaching format also inspired teachers’ desire to lead discussions and administer quizzes instead of repeating rote didactics. Overall, this pilot study reveals that a combination of the TBL approach and traditional pathology theory can improve pathology education. 

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Copyright (c) 2017 International Journal of Higher Education

International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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