Developing future translational scientists through authentic learning and assessments

Emma Tumilty, Heidi Spratt, Christina Cestone, Kevin Wooten, Judith Aronson, Jonathan Hommel, Mark R. Hellmich, Celia Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Interprofessional Research Design course uses authentic learning pedagogy to bring together students from different education tracks (PhD, MD, MD/PhD training) to engage in interprofessional collaborative skills toward completion of a capstone project, a National Health Institutes (NIH) R21-style grant proposal. The course, underpinned by principles of team science, begins with a leadership training workshop to introduce students to effective leadership and teamwork strategies for interprofessional team environments. We used several assessments during the course to monitor leadership and team dynamics. We analyzed three assessments (leadership self-efficacy testing, iterative team contracts and reflective essays) to better understand students’ learning experiences. Self-efficacy testing was administered before leadership training (pre) and at the end of the course (post-then); scores were analyzed using a repeated repeated measures ANOVA. Iterative team contracts were analyzed qualitatively using both deductive and descriptive methods. Reflective essays were analyzed using a general inductive approach. Nine teams of 32 students (23 MD; 9 PhD) participated in the class over 2017-2018. Self-efficacy testing using post-then timing to control for response shift showed a statistically significant increase in self-efficacy across all measures. Deductive qualitative analysis of iterative contracting showed evidence of team processes which support successful team performance; and descriptive analysis mapped productive behaviors. In reflective essays, seven of the nine teams collectively described their experiences positively; e.g., themes included empathizing with group members, sophisticated communication and collaborative workflow/styles. For negative experiences, themes were related to basic communication, poor integration and the theory-practice gap of leadership training. These findings demonstrate the usefulness of an authentic learning pedagogy focused on teaching the practice of team science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100151
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research Open
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • communication
  • graduate students
  • interprofessional education
  • leadership
  • medical students
  • team science
  • translational science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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