Active Learning in Medical School: A Comparison of Approaches for Interdisciplinary Teaching of Genetics and Pharmacology
Active learning is an approach to instruction that helps students stay engaged during class by applying their knowledge for higher order thinking and problem solving. An outcome of active learning is increased retention of knowledge compared to traditional lectures. To work successfully, active learning requires that students: 1) study materials by learning de novo for the session, or 2) recall knowledge learned previously in earlier sessions, or 3) a combination of both studying de novo and recall. We delivered a session entitled “Targeted Cancer Therapies” that was taught by two methods: 1) standard Team-Based Learning (TBL), and 2) mini-lectures interspersed with group problem solving, called Large Group Active Learning (LGAL). We present highlights of the materials used, a comparison of the pedagogies based on student feedback, and faculty conclusions from employing these active learning approaches.