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Team-Based Learning

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Enhancing interprofessional team performance in service of robust educational outcomes, patient and learner safety, and high-quality care.

Goal Statement: 

Team members from diverse professions, roles and organizations work to their full potential through interactive learning and simulation within a positive, culturally safe environment.

2023 Success Measures:

  1. Teams learn through simulation. Target 50 per cent of teams learn through simulation.
  2. Teams are addressing problems and tough issues on a regular basis. Target: 50 per cent of team members are able to bring up problems and tough issues in the team setting.
  3. Two or more professions learn about, from, and with each other to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes (interprofessional education) on a regular basis. Target: 70 per cent of teams indicate that they very often engage in interprofessional education.


Sunnybrook is committed to building high performing teams (both intact and ad hoc) that invent the future of health care. High performing teams can have a positive effect on clinical error rates, patient complications and hospital length of stay. Effective collaborative practice is enabled by effective interprofessional education. Fortunately, Sunnybrook has a strong track record in the delivery of interprofessional learning. To optimize the value of this learning and to foster the development of extraordinary team performance, it is important to create structured opportunities for intact teams to learn together, and to do so in their local areas of work using a variety of evidence-informed modes, including simulation. This will have the added benefit of team members being better prepared to function as part of a flexible workforce which can expand, contract or relocate to align with evolving care priorities and staffing requirements.

Learning together across professions and roles helps to enhance role clarity and reduce conflict among caregivers, ultimately creating positive staff outcomes such as enhanced satisfaction, cultural safety and decreased turnover. Over the next three years, to expand capability across Sunnybrook, intact teams will receive resources to enable them to develop a common language and become more proficient in learning together. This will include developing expertise in such important teaming practices as communications, debriefing, and reflection. Tools will be developed with input from experienced members of intact and ad hoc teams – and with the support of library resources – to ensure the toolkit has broad relevance. Other systemic supports will also be provided, including team assessment, coaching, and access to broader forums such as communities of practice, which will provide exposure to role models and best practices.

Collaboration is fundamentally about culture. Organizations that promote diversity and collaboration unlock innovation, creativity, and renewal. To strengthen a team-oriented, collaborative, inclusive, and equitable culture, leaders at every level across Sunnybrook will be offered learning opportunities to equip themselves with the knowledge, skills, and tools to promote equitable, diverse and inclusive interprofessional practice and collaboration systematically both within Sunnybrook and across the system. Further initiatives, designed in response to feedback from the Sunnybrook community, will be rolled out to support team wellness and resilience. This will optimize both the enjoyment and the relevance of interprofessional learning.

Inventing the future of health care requires that teams function seamlessly, offering integrated care to patients and their families. The advent of Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) has hastened a “bending and extending” of current team practice, including the expanded participation of patients and families as team members. Opportunities exist because Sunnybrook’s intact teams work increasingly across the continuum of care to support the learning that is taking place at those intersections and to share collaboration tools with OHTs and close partners. The recent pandemic experience has demonstrated the critical importance of these community connections, particularly in dealing with such vulnerable populations as the elderly and those in long-term care homes.

The development and sharing of best practices will be fostered using existing forums such as applied projects linked to team-oriented leadership development courses, as well as targeted submissions to national and international conferences that feature interprofessional education and team-based learning.

Objectives, Tactics and Measures »

Objective 1: Support teams to develop teamwork competencies with simulation

Tactic 1: Expand the capacity for use of simulation in TBL.

Tactic 2: Develop a TBL toolkit that includes tools for reflection, debriefs, huddles, equity, diversity, and inclusion principles, as well as coaching and consultation support.

Tactic 3: Offer continuing education based on Sunnybrook’s Core Competencies for Interprofessional Team Collaboration.

Tactic 4: Implement a Team Exchange program.


  • Number of teams utilizing simulation to enhance performance
  • Number of teams actively engaged in team development to enhance team performance towards a shared purpose, improvement objectives, and the evaluation of results
  • Number of nominations for Team-Based Interprofessional Teaching Award
  • Dedicated time for ongoing team reflection
  • Number of educators who participated in faculty development for interprofessional simulation

Objective 2: Deepen the existing collaborative culture within Sunnybrook and across the system

Tactic 1: Provide leaders with opportunities to learn key concepts related to team-building and resilience.

Tactic 2: Offer tailored interventions with learning outcomes to build relationships and foster resilience (e.g., team wellness, self-care, “funterventions,” social opportunity, improv workshops).

Tactic 3: Introduce team assessments that include intersection with partner teams.

Tactic 4: Support recognition opportunities that encourage team-based collaboration.


  • Number and mix of leaders attending team-oriented leadership development learning opportunities
  • Percentage endorsing “my team works collaboratively together”

Objective 3: Create communities of practice and partnerships to advance development and adoption of TBL best practices

Tactic 1: Design and implement in-person and online formats for sharing TBL best practices, research/scholarship, and emerging questions.

Tactic 2: Champion relevant applied learning projects by attendees at team-oriented leadership development courses (e.g., Collaborative Change Leadership Program and Educating Health Professionals in Interprofessional Care).

Tactic 3: Fund simulation and education-focused fellowships.


  • Number of abstract submissions for the Interprofessional Collaboration Showcase
  • Community of practice membership/attendance
  • Number of interprofessional research teams


  1. World Health Organization. (2010). Framework for action on interprofessional education and collaborative practice. World Health Organization. 
  2. Meuser, J., Bean, T., Goldman, J., & Reeves, S. (September 2006) Family Health Teams: A new Canadian Interprofessional Initiative. Journal of Interprofessional Care. 20(4):436-8
  3. Health Force Ontario (2007). Interprofessional Care: A Blueprint for Action in Ontario.