Jessica Bellamy presenting at the EF Lunch & Learn hosted by Medicine (February 2020)
FULT Alumni Good Practice Case Studies
Preparing for professional exercise-physiology practice using team-based tutorials
Students in small groups participate in clinical-practice-based tutorials emphasising student preparation outside of class and application of knowledge in class.
Ms Jessica Bellamy and Dr John Booth, with student colleague Ms Sarah Fensom.
HESC4502 Workplace Assessment & Rehabilitation, fourth-year Bachelor of Exercise Physiology (program-specific)
HESC3532 Movement Rehabilitation, third-year Bachelor of Exercise Physiology (program-specific)
Demonstration of good practice
With the 2018 introduction of a fourth-year workplace assessment and rehabilitation course (HESC4502) in the UNSW Exercise Physiology program, 90% of students were now undertaking off-site clinical placement, significantly reducing face-to-face teaching. Our scenarios, in which individuals contributed to a class case study, had favoured high-performing, extroverted students. We thus shifted towards team-based learning (TBL) workshops, which maximised face-to-face time and helped students meet the learning outcomes of applying advanced problem-solving skills and critical thinking, and displaying communication skills and teamwork. Informal feedback was highly positive (for example, “The TBLs are really great. Less pressure, and learnt from colleagues when discussing ideas”), and we have extended TBL to other Exercise Physiology courses.
Recent literature strongly supports the use of TBL to facilitate clinical skills (Reimschisel et al. 2019; Burgess et al. 2017; Michaelson et al. 2003). TBLs help identify inconsistencies between students’ understanding and their practicum experiences; this stimulates development of new frameworks (Parmelee et al. 2012; Zimmerman et al. 2011). Teamwork skills are strengthened by focused reflection on new experiences during group sessions by providing feedback to group members.
TBLs, which stress preparing outside of class (verified at the start of each session with an online assessment) and applying knowledge in class, recreate a clinical setting that encourages students to use clinical reasoning to develop a context for what they’re learning in their practicums.
Burgess A, Bleasel J, Haq I, Roberts C, Garsia R, Robertson T, & Mellis C 2017, Team-based learning (TBL) in the medical curriculum: better than PBL? BMC Medical Education, vol. 17, no. 1, art. 243.
Michaelsen, L, Bauman-Knight, A, & Fink, D 2003, Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching, Stylus Publishing, Sterling, VA.
Parmelee, D, Michaelsen L K, Cook S, Hudes P D, 2012, Team-based learning: a practical guide: AMEE guide no. 65. Medical Teacher, vol. 34, no. 5, pp.e275-87.
Reimschisel, T, Herring A L, Huang, J, Minor, T J 2017, A systematic review of the published literature on team-based learning in health professions education, Medical Teacher, vol. 39, no. 12, pp.1227-1237.
Zimmerman, S D, Lester Short, G F, Hendrix, E M, & Timson, B F, 2011, Impact of interdisciplinary learning on critical thinking using case study method in allied health care graduate students, Journal of Allied Health, vol. 40, no. 1, pp.15-18.
A tip for other educators
This mode of delivery requires significant academic preparation prior to facilitating the face-to-face sessions. It is important to emphasise the purpose of these sessions to students, to ensure that the focus is on application of knowledge rather than reviewing assumed knowledge. The use of industry experts as facilitators significantly influenced the success of this teaching strategy. TBL facilitation works best with use of the UNSW Active Learning Spaces, but can be adapted to run fully online.
HESC4502 Workplace Assessment and Rehabilitation was highly useful and relevant to transition into the professional world of Exercise Physiology. It enabled an understanding of both the practical and administrative processes involved in treating clients under Work Cover Claims, which not only was interesting at the time, but has proven to be highly beneficial upon completion of university. The team-based learning sessions introduced an element of accountability to the subject as, particularly with the online work, gathering motivation to complete work on time can be difficult. The nature of the TBLs ensured that you had to complete the course work prior to attending so you could effectively engage in the class and activities. The scheduling of these two workshops at mid-trimester and towards the end of term was beneficial for learning, as it provided the opportunity to check in with knowledge and understanding of content both during the semester and before the final exams and assignments. These things, in addition to the opportunity for face-to-face discussion and practical application of the content covered in the online course work, made the TBLs an essential part of the learning experience for this subject.