9. Innovation in research instruction: Pilot testing of team learning to promote peer reviewed grantwriting by clinician trainees

F. Warnock, J. Sibley


We piloted the combination of Team-Based Learning (TBL) with interactive in-class instruction in grantsmanship to test its effectiveness in preparing clinician trainees to produce a national (CIHR) peer reviewed operating grant in a small class setting. The approach was integrated into a university graduate quantitative method and design course delivered to five trainees in 12 weekly 4hr sessions. Outcomes to assess knowledge acquisition, retention and application included percentage scores in seven TBL individual and student team tests (each containing 15-20 multiple-choice items), student participation in a mock peer review and student own submission of an operating grant (using CIHR peer review evaluation criteria to assess methodological coherency and soundness of the research design and plan, feasibility, relevancy and innovativeness). Also assessed were student perception of the approach on their learning (7 item questionnaire) and two peer teaching evaluations.
In seven consecutive testing sessions, percentage scores for the individual tests were 80, 72, 76, 71, 83, 75 and 80 and corresponding team scores were 96, 96, 83, 100, 95, 97, and 97 suggesting an 18% increase in individual knowledge with team testing. Overall, student achievements were 93% for mock peer review and 78% for grant production. Trainees rated TBL and the interactive in-class activities as effective in consolidating knowledge and promoting complex research design decision making. Evaluations of the teaching were 4.7 and 4.8 out of 5. Findings suggest students mastered course content, that team learning increased individual knowledge and that trainees linked theory to successfully produce a CIHR operating grant. These pilot findings call for larger prospective studies to test the combined approach in larger classes and with other populations of clinician trainees.
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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25011/cim.v30i4.2769


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