Published: June 27, 2011
Updated: June 27, 2011
From the prime minister of Kazakhstan to representatives from Harvard, more than 100 delegations from all over the world have visited Duke-NUS to learn more about the school’s innovative approach to medical education.
Called TeamLEAD (learn, engage, apply, develop), the method is a radical departure from traditional lecture-based teaching formats. Instead, students are responsible for learning the bulk of the material before class, using recorded lectures from Duke University School of Medicine along with reading assignments from textbooks and medical journals.
Once in class, they are tested both individually and in small groups, so instructors can focus the rest of the session on areas of weakness. The teams then work together, with “open-book” access to medical references, to solve clinically oriented questions related to the material.
“The best doctor is no longer the doctor with the best memory,” says Robert Kamei, MD, vice dean for education at Duke-NUS. “In an age when information is available anywhere, instantaneously, we want to provide students with the skills they’ll need in the future -- the ability to find the latest information and apply it to clinical practice.
To succeed at the highest level, they need to be able to both work in teams and provide leadership, so our curricular approach focuses on developing those abilities, not just rote memorization.”
Although the concept of team-based learning was introduced in business schools in the 1980s, TeamLEAD is the first time it has been adapted for medical education.
“It’s difficult to introduce a whole new approach within an existing school,” says Ranga Krishnan, MB, ChB, dean of Duke-NUS. “In Singapore we had the opportunity to ask ourselves, with everything we know now about medicine, research, and teaching, what is the best way to train our students?”
“There are significant advantages to the TeamLEAD approach,” agrees Edward Buckley, MD, vice dean for education at Duke medical school, who helped develop the Duke-NUS curriculum. “It makes more efficient use of the instructor’s time and is better suited to the way adults learn, which is by applying new information in a practical context. It’s also very good preparation for clinical practice, which is increasingly moving toward multidisciplinary, team-based care.”
In fact, the approach is now being adopted in pilot programs at “Duke Durham,” as the U.S. school is known in Singapore. This year, first-year medical students in the Brain and Behavior, Molecules and Cells, and Body and Diseases courses participated in team-based learning exercises, and “we plan to adapt more of the methodology going forward, especially after we move into our new Learning Center,” says Buckley.
“The opportunity to exchange these kinds of ideas and share experiences is a very rich and rewarding part of this partnership.”
See page 12 of the Summer 2011 issue of DukeMed Magazine (PDF, 5 MB) to learn more about the graduates of the Duke-NUS class of 2011.