Team-Based Learning in Bioethics Education: Creating a Successful Curriculum for Residents in an Era of “Curricular Squeeze”



Team-based learning has been utilized inside and outside of medical education with success. Its use in bioethics education—particularly in graduate medical education—has been limited, despite its proven pedagogical strength and the critical importance of ethics and professionalism.


From 2015–2018, we created and administered 10 TBL bioethics modular exercises using L. Dee Fink’s “Principles of Significant Learning” and the evidence-based methodology of TBL (with some modifications, given the nature of graduate medical education) to pediatric residents. We evaluated the TBL curriculum and report satisfaction scores and qualitative thematic analysis of strengths and weaknesses.

Results and Discussion

Pediatric residents, despite a perception of “curricular squeeze” and lack of interest in ethics, were highly engaged and satisfied with a TBL-only-based bioethics curriculum. We were able to successfully adapt the TBL structure to the situational factors surrounding the rigors and unpredictable nature of clinical graduate education. We offer four “Lessons Learned” for creating and implementing TBL exercises in graduate medical education. TBL can be used in bioethics education successfully, not just for individual exercises, but also to create a comprehensive ethics curriculum.

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Correspondence to Ashley K. Fernandes.

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Fernandes, A.K., Wilson, S., Kasick, R. et al. Team-Based Learning in Bioethics Education: Creating a Successful Curriculum for Residents in an Era of “Curricular Squeeze”. Med.Sci.Educ. 30, 649–658 (2020).

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  • Bioethics
  • Ethics education
  • Medical education
  • Graduate medical education
  • Team-based learning
  • Curricular development