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Open Access Research article

Evaluating team-based, lecture-based, and hybrid learning methods for neurology clerkship in China: a method-comparison study

Lian-Hong Yang1*, Long-Yuan Jiang2, Bing Xu3, Shu-Qiong Liu1, Yan-Ran Liang1, Jin-Hao Ye1 and En-Xiang Tao1

  • * Corresponding author: Lian-Hong Yang docylh@163.com

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, No. 107, West Yanjiang Road, Guangzhou 510120, People’s Republic of China

2 Emergency Department, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, No. 107, West Yanjiang Road, Guangzhou 510120, People’s Republic of China

3 Department of Education, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University, No. 107, West Yanjiang Road, Guangzhou 510120, People’s Republic of China

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BMC Medical Education 2014, 14:98  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-98

Published: 20 May 2014

Abstract

Background

Neurology is complex, abstract, and difficult for students to learn. However, a good learning method for neurology clerkship training is required to help students quickly develop strong clinical thinking as well as problem-solving skills. Both the traditional lecture-based learning (LBL) and the relatively new team-based learning (TBL) methods have inherent strengths and weaknesses when applied to neurology clerkship education. However, the strengths of each method may complement the weaknesses of the other. Combining TBL with LBL may produce better learning outcomes than TBL or LBL alone. We propose a hybrid method (TBL + LBL) and designed an experiment to compare the learning outcomes with those of pure LBL and pure TBL.

Methods

One hundred twenty-seven fourth-year medical students attended a two-week neurology clerkship program organized by the Department of Neurology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital. All of the students were from Grade 2007, Department of Clinical Medicine, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-Sen University. These students were assigned to one of three groups randomly: Group A (TBL + LBL, with 41 students), Group B (LBL, with 43 students), and Group C (TBL, with 43 students). The learning outcomes were evaluated by a questionnaire and two tests covering basic knowledge of neurology and clinical practice.

Results

The practice test scores of Group A were similar to those of Group B, but significantly higher than those of Group C. The theoretical test scores and the total scores of Group A were significantly higher than those of Groups B and C. In addition, 100% of the students in Group A were satisfied with the combination of TBL + LBL.

Conclusions

Our results support our proposal that the combination of TBL + LBL is acceptable to students and produces better learning outcomes than either method alone in neurology clerkships. In addition, the proposed hybrid method may also be suited for other medical clerkships that require students to absorb a large amount of abstract and complex course materials in a short period, such as pediatrics and internal medicine clerkships.

Keywords:
Lecture-based learning; Team-based learning; Neurology; Clerkship; Hybrid learning method