Educators from Guatemala Immersed in Team-Based Learning

Posted on October 30, 2015 by Taylor P'Pool
Taylor P'Pool

Six faculty members from the Universidad de Francisco Marroquín (UFM) School of Medicine in Guatemala visited the University of South Alabama on Sept. 21-24, 2015, for a Team-Based Learning (TBL) immersion experience.

The UFM team included Lucreacia Hernandez, M.D., Ph.D.; Mariana Rodriguez, M.D.; Elizabeth Orellana, M.D.; Estuardo Tercero, M.D., Ing.; Jose Morales, academic coordinator at UFM, Ing.; and Hilda Flores, educational technology specialist at UFM.

The six faculty members participated in professional development sessions, observed TBL classes and interacted with the faculty in the USA Colleges of Medicine and Allied Health Professions and Nursing during their visit. They joined USA faculty members by attending a workshop that focused on TBL design and implementation developed by Dr. Julie Estis, director of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and associate professor of speech-language pathology at USA. UFM is the first school in Central America to change their curriculum to the integrated systems in a competency-based format.

They also met with the College of Medicine leadership to discuss curriculum development. During their visit they toured USA Children's & Women's Hospital and the human patient simulation program on main campus.

“Our TeamUSA Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) has provided the unique opportunity for many of USA faculty to be trained in TBL and to implement it in their courses. It is exciting to share what we’ve learned with others,” said Dr. Estis. “Having faculty from another country visit to learn about and experience TBL demonstrates the strength of our QEP and the dedication of our faculty.”

Each university accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is required to develop and implement a QEP. The University of South Alabama’s TeamUSA QEP began in 2013 and utilizes team-based learning to improve student learning outcomes, increase critical thinking and problem solving skills, enhance collaboration and communication, and apply content to real-world situations.

Dr. Benjamin Estrada, assistant dean for medical education at the USA College of Medicine; Dr. T.J. Hundley, associate professor of internal medicine at the USA College of Medicine; and Dr. Estis helped make this visit possible for the visiting faculty. UFM is Dr. Estrada’s alma mater. He has served as a consultant for the university’s school of medicine curriculum renewal process during the past two years.

According to Dr. Estrada, UFM is changing their curriculum to match the current global tendencies in medical education following the lead at USA, which is now focused on longitudinal content integration in a competency–based environment that emphasizes self-directed learning.

“The visit gave them good insight on how they can apply TBL in their different educational environments,” said Dr. Estrada, who also serves as a pediatric infectious disease specialist and professor of pediatrics at USA. “They were impressed with the educational development here at USA and the dedication the entire faculty has to their students’ education.”

“Being here was a great opportunity for them. They definitely are extremely grateful for the opportunity to participate in the educational activities here at the University of South Alabama,” said Dr. Estrada. “Overall, this was a great opportunity to share experiences between these two institutions, and hopefully it is the start of an ongoing relationship.”

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