Comparing Case-Based with Team-Based Learning: Dental Students’ Satisfaction, Level of Learning, and Resources Needed

Colin M. Haley, Blase Brown, Anne Koerber, Christina L. Nicholas, Anne Belcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The aims of this study were to compare third-year dental students’ satisfaction and level of learning in case-based learning (CBL) versus team-based learning (TBL) and the resources required in those two methodologies. Level of learning was assessed for both knowledge and application, and resources were defined as student and faculty time and rooms. In academic year 2018-19, all 68 third-year dental students in one U.S. dental school were enrolled in two sequential semester-long courses; the first used CBL, and the second used TBL. After each course, students and faculty facilitators completed surveys, and data from students’ knowledge and application exams were collected. The student surveys asked students to report their satisfaction with the learning methodology (CBL or TBL); the faculty surveys asked the faculty facilitators to report the resources used for each methodology. Forty-five of 68 students (66%) consented to participate; however, a larger number of students completed surveys in the two semesters (69% for CBL and 87% for TBL). Fourteen of 16 (88%) faculty facilitators completed the CBL survey, and five of the six (83%) completed the TBL survey. Overall, the results showed that students’ satisfaction was higher with CBL than TBL (Mann-Whitney U = 882.0; p<0.001), and students reported having a better understanding of concepts after CBL than TBL (U = 899.0; p<0.001). The students performed better on knowledge exam items in TBL than CBL (86% vs. 82%) but the same on application items (both 86%). Resource requirements for both methods were extensive, with TBL requiring fewer facilitators and rooms than CBL but requiring more time from both students (2.6 vs. 2.3 hours weekly) and faculty members (2.3 vs. 1.4 hours weekly). In this study, students preferred CBL to TBL but had higher knowledge scores in the TBL course. The resources needed for both CBL and TBL were said to be extensive, with infrastructure use higher for CBL but time for students and faculty higher for TBL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)486-494
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • case-based learning
  • dental education
  • educational methodology
  • team-based learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)


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