Oral Session 3: From 'hands off' to 'hands on': Introducing experiential learning into the TBL course builds student confidence for 4S assignments.
Date & Time
Monday, March 16, 2020, 3:30 PM - 3:45 PM
Description of the problem or issue: Students often find anatomy assessment difficult as many focus primarily on memorising the content that often is perceived as excessive, difficult and irrelevant to future occupations. Since the introduction of the TBL pedagogy into a Head, Neck and Back Anatomy course (UNSW, Sydney) for Medical Science students in 2017, the outcomes and student satisfaction have improved significantly. However, there was still high anxiety in the team assessments with students feeling under-prepared for the task. Student felt difficulty in visualising anatomical structures, relating structure to function and felt apprehensive towards problem-solving due to low confidence and fear of failure._x000D_ _x000D_ Proposed solutions or approaches: To close the gap between the theory and practical application of knowledge, we introduced experiential learning pedagogy into the TBL-based course. We have developed 'hands on' team learning activity that utilised 3D-printed vertebrae that were used to investigate and model factors contributing to stability and mobility of the vertebral column. This was followed by a team reflection on factors important for spine stability. This provided students with concrete learning experience that in TBL settings facilitated reflective observation, active experimentation and conceptualisation. The activity was delivered as preparation for a 4S TBL team assignment focused on applying this knowledge to evaluate a probability of back pain development in several real-life case scenarios. We hypothesised that experiential 'pre-learning' activity increased student confidence. Team reflection helped to relate TBL assignment to a previous experience and promoted engagement motivation. This subsequently improved overall performance (both, individual and team) and decreased anxiety associated with assignment._x000D_ _x000D_ Limitations: Although combining the TBL and 'learning by doing' principles in the anatomy course delivery and assessment appears to facilitate a positive change, more detailed analysis of the causative links and effectiveness of experiential learning in the TBL setting is required._x000D_ _x000D_