Purpose: To improve comprehension in traditionally difficult subjects for a senior-level undergraduate medical physics course, we designed and implemented a Team Learning technique. This work evaluates the translation of Team Learning to medical physics.
Methods: At the beginning of the term, students were sorted into 3 even teams (students/year = 14.5). The class met twice weekly: a traditional lecture was taught first, and each team was assigned a specific 1/3 of the lecture material in which to specialize. Each team was assigned to create a PowerPoint presentation on their material using outside references and without copying the original figures or exact wording. Office hours between class meetings were dedicated to aiding the students, and presentations were due, graded, and returned that evening along with the opportunity to resubmit by the second meeting for full marks. At the second meeting, teams were divided and sorted into pods of 3 with one representative from each team in each pod. The pods taught one another their material with the goal of improving comprehension and exam scores. Two years of pre-intervention and 2 years of post-intervention exam grades were collected. Exam questions on the subjects were kept constant so that the impact of this change could be evaluated.
Results: Grades improved in both experimental sections, from an average of 0.5 to 0.3 incorrect answers (p < 0.1) per student in the MRI section, and from 1.3 to 0.5 (p < 0.1) in the Radiation Safety section. Grades were not significantly changed (p > 0.1) in the practice section on X-Ray Production.
Conclusion: The Team Learning approach translated well into undergraduate medical physics. Exam scores improved in 2 difficult subjects alongside good qualitative feedback. We will continue to provide this in the course in the coming years, with an eye toward expanding to graduate-level courses.
Not Applicable / None Entered.