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There is widespread recognition that undergraduate students in the life sciences must learn how to work in teams. However, instructors who wish to incorporate teamwork into their classrooms rarely have formal training in how to teach teamwork. This is further complicated by the application of synonymous and often ambiguous terminology regarding teamwork that is found in literature spread among many different disciplines. There are significant barriers for instructors wishing to identify and implement best practices. We synthesize key concepts in teamwork by considering the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) necessary for success, the pedagogies and curricula for teaching those KSAs, and the instruments available for evaluating and assessing success. There are only a limited number of studies on teamwork in higher education that present an intervention with a control group and a formal evaluation or assessment. Moreover, these studies are almost exclusively outside STEM disciplines, raising questions about their extensibility. We conclude by considering how to build an evidence base for instruction that will empower students with the KSAs necessary for participating in a lifetime of equitable and inclusive teamwork.


This article was originally published in CBE--Life Sciences Education, volume 23, in 2024. https://10.1187/cbe.23-07-0128


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.



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