A goal of the MME orientation days is for all participants to understand the meaning of “learning in teams” as quickly as possible. As learning is also always linked to emotions, Prof. Ara Tekian and the course leader Dr. Sandra Trachsel chose a playful introduction to the various themes of Medical Education. This also meant, of course, that all participants could get to know each other quickly, intensively, and with the most amount of fun in the game. As the group will be learning with and from each other for two years, a good start builds the foundation for a successful time spent learning together.

Team-building: Building a “Lego hospital” together

In a team-building game, the task was to build a hospital with an adjacent bed tower and recreation area using 545 Lego bricks. The team members were assigned the various roles of building principal, architect, client, contractor, construction worker and an observer of the group process. The difficulty of the task did not lie in building a nice Lego hospital in a predefined time. No, instead, questions of teamwork and communication were analysed, for example whether the outcome reflected the client’s wishes or whether the team perhaps even failed to ask the client about his wishes.

• Did the team follow the brief that the hospital had to have two floors and the client did not want any red bricks to be used for this?

• Did all groups manage to build a connecting corridor between the tower and the hospital and build a fence around the recreation area?

• Did everybody contribute to implementing the project, or were individual participants not even asked?

• How did the team work together to achieve the goal?

Some of the results can be seen here:

“Hearing versus listening”
A further game focused on “hearing versus listening”. Not everything that we say leads to our listeners understanding the same thing. Of course, this particularly applies to teaching: Not everything that we teach is understood by our students in the manner we intended. With a brief introduction, the participants had to fold coloured paper with closed eyes and rip off corners as instructed.

Did everyone here understand the same thing?

And a further task for the teams: Giving learners the opportunity to ask clarifying questions is often helpful for understanding. For instance also in this game: The men describe to the women in words how to tie a tie. The women can ask as many questions as they wish until they have tied the perfect knot. Here are a few impressions:

Hearing versus listening
Skills practice: How do you tie a tie?


Dr. phil-nat. et MME Sandra Trachsel

+41 31 631 41 19
sandra.trachsel (at) iml.unibe.ch