A Quantitative Comparison of Traditional to Fully Online Team-Based Learning Scores

Concurrent Session 1
Streamed Session

Watch This Session

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

A new, fully online method of delivering team-based learning (TBL) creates new training opportunities for the growing tech-savvy population of physician assistant (PA) students. This first-of-its-kind study compared the scores from physical, blended, and virtual environments. The absence of significant score differences in individual learners provides confidence in the equity of online system vs. traditional classroom settings. The presence of differences in team scores reinforces that confidence and is consistent with constructivism and TBL literature.


Vic Holmes is an Assistant Professor currently teaching medicine at the UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth. His clinical work has ranged from family medicine across several specialties and most recently involved providing home-based medical care for the mentally and physically challenged. He graduated from the Interservice Physician Assistant Program in 2000 and retired honorably as a Major from the Air Force after 22+ years of service. He is currently conducting an HSC IRB-approved study on Transgender health disparities. He has been the Faculty Advisor for the Pride Student Group on the UNTHSC Campus after he, Mark, Cleo and Nicole successfully sued the state of Texas for the right to marry. He spends his free time with his husband, Mark Phariss, in Plano animating squeaky toys for their adorable beagles.

Extended Abstract

The problem addressed by this study was the need in the medical education system for an effective, fully online educational methodology capable of delivering team-based instruction of increasingly extensive and intricate medical knowledge to a more technologically oriented learner population of physician assistant (PA) students. With medical knowledge becoming increasingly complex, technology-rich integration into a healthcare delivery team is essential to successful PA practice. Delivering that instruction required new methods integrating a constructivist approach to optimize team learning and interaction. Traditional TBL is group-oriented collaborative learning capable of delivering education including team interaction and knowledge sharing. TBL was previously unavailable in a fully online format, but a new fully online system of TBL created a research gap comparing the scores between traditional and fully online TBL methods. The purpose of this quantitative quasi-experimental study was to compare the graduate-level physician assistant students' grades on the traditional (paper-based) TBL system and learner grades achieved via the new computer-based TBL system interface. This study used a quantitative quasi-experimental pre-test / post-test design comparing for differences between I-RAT and T-RAT scores attained by the traditional versus online TBL methods. The dependent variables for this study were learner TBL I-RAT and T-RAT scores and the independent variables were the method of administration (traditional or online) and method of instruction (classroom versus virtual). Analysis of the results using Kruskal-Wallis and independent samples t-Tests indicated no statistically significant differences between the I-RAT scores across four cohorts but there were statistically significant differences between the T-RAT scores across those cohorts. These results were consistent with score analyses in the literature regarding individual and team performance. Analysis indicated similar findings for differences between the I-RAT and T-RAT scores for the traditional versus the novel online method of TBL administration. The method of instruction, didactic delivery within both a classroom setting and a virtual medium also revealed similar findings.