Team-Based Learning Gets Attention in Singapore

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Team Program Is an Experiment in Active Learning

by Sonia Kolesnikov-Jessop in The New York Times

published 29 April 2009

singaporeSINGAPORE — Team-based learning, an educational method primarily conceived for business schools, was developed in the early 1980s by Larry K. Michaelsen, now a professor of management at the University of Central Missouri in the United States. An alternative to traditional lecturing, this method uses a mix of individual and group processes to solve problems.

In recent years, some medical schools have recognized the advantage of active learning that encourages critical thinking and have started to experiment with Professor Michaelsen’s techniques.

Now, the Duke-N.U.S. Graduate Medical School, in Singapore, has gone a step further, applying this method to its entire basic science education.

“Learning is both about memorizing and thinking about what you’ve memorized; the hardest question in education is to figure out the right balance between the two,” said Robert K. Kamei, vice dean of education at Duke-N.U.S., a partnership between Duke University, based in Durham, North Carolina, and the National University of Singapore. “We’ve decided to apply this teaching method to its fullest extent because we feel it’s a better way for our students to learn.”

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