What is Team-Based Learning?
Team-Based Learning (TBL) is an active learning methodology that emphasizes team work as a major driving force for learning, and sets as a major goal the application of course con-cepts to solve real problems. A protocol of very specific steps organizes pre-class and class ac-tivities. Embedded motivation enhancers promote individual autonomous preparation, enga-gement in team activities and deep learning. The focus on team work makes students accountable before their teammates, which is reinforced by peer evaluation at the end of the course.
Each module (typically between five and seven in a course) runs a TBL-cycle encompassing a Readiness Assurance Process (RAP) and application activities. The RAP phase consists in individual review of instructional material, an individual readiness assurance test, a team readiness assurance test, appeals and a mini-lecture. Then teams are challenged with application activities followed by class discussion and feedback from the instructor. The design of application activities is guided by the “four S” framework:
The problem must be meaningful to the students, complex enough to require the whole team to engage immediately and apply the concepts they are learning and will be using for any related assignments that will follow.
Same problem for all teams
Teams work on the same problem at the same time rather than on different pieces of a larger puzzle. This way the comparability of team solutions comes naturally to support a discussion or debriefing.
Specific choice required
Teams are given a specific choice to make from a limited list of options rather than asked to answer open-ended questions. This is a solution to allow an easier comparison of all the decisions from all teams.
Simultaneous report by all teams
Teams report their choice in simple form all at the same time. This is possible only if it follows a specific choice, which facilitates the simultaneous generation of reports. Since each team knows that their answers will be available to everyone, this is a method to encourage accountability and the ability to defend their own thoughts.
TBL is an efficient instructional strategy for face-to-face or distance learning courses, with teams collaborating either synchronously or asynchronously.
To facilitate online group collaboration, students can use, for instance:
- Zoom Breakout Rooms (for group discussion)
- Google Docs (to take notes in the same document simultaneously)
- Jamboard (collaborative whiteboard)
Learn more about Team-Based Learning