Effects of instructional methodologies on team research performance in a medical environment



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This study investigated the effects on learning, attitude change, and team performance of teaching certain concepts of group behavior, team management principles and concepts, and group decision-making processes by two different instructional methods. The research was a controlled experiment conducted in the Physiology Department at Baylor College of Medicine. Participants in the Baylor College of Medicine seminar 'Classical Physiology with Modern Instrumentation' were used as experimental subjects. One half of the subjects were taught the group concepts by an experiential method consisting of a three step behavioral simulation. The remaining subjects were taught the same concepts by a didactic method consisting of traditional classroom lectures supplemented by discussions of case studies. Two measuring instruments were used to determine the effects of the instructional methods on learning and attitude change. These were administered as a Pretest and two Posttests separated by five weeks, A team research project was used to measure the effects of the instructional methods on team performance. It was hypothesized that both instructional methods would be equally effective in producing short-term learning and short-term positive attitude change toward group effort and that the experiential method would be more effective in producing long-term learning and long-term attitude change. It was further hypothesized that the groups taught by the experiential method would produce higher quality team research than the groups taught by the didactic method. The data gathered confirmed the short-term hypotheses. The data also confirmed the long-term learning hypothesis. The behavioral simulation produced long-term learning and the lectures/case studies did not. Sufficient positive attitude change resulted from the experiential method to support the long-term attitude change hypothesis. The data concerning the performance hypothesis produced less definite results. When data was analyzed in terms of the group product, no significant differences in performance were found between groups taught by different instructional methods. Anecdotal evidence concerning group process was provided by the Chief, Division of Biomedical Engineering, Baylor College of Medicine, This evidence strongly indicated that the experiential method had a significantly greater positive effect on group performance in terms of group process than did the didactic method.