What is Team Based Learning?


What is Team Based Learning?

Team-based learning (TBL) is a structured form of small-group learning that emphasizes student preparation out of class and application of knowledge in class.

Students are organized strategically into diverse teams of 5-7 students that work together throughout the class. With this pedagogy, Students must complete preparatory materials before a class or the start of the module. Materials may be text, visual or other, and set at a level that is appropriate to the students and the course.

Team-Based Learning has been suggested to help students who seem uninterested in subject material, do not do their homework, and have difficulty understanding material. TBL can transform traditional content with application and problem solving skills, while developing interpersonal skills. Its implementation in education can also be important for developing skills and abilities that are useful for businesses, organizations, careers, and industries where many projects and tasks are performed by teams. Learning how to learn, work, interact, and collaborate in a team is essential for success in this kind of an environment.

Team-Based Learning implementation is based on four underlying principles:

(Michaelsen & Richards 2005):

1. Groups should be properly formed (e.g. Intellectual talent should be equally distributed among the groups). These teams are fixed for the whole course.

2. Students are accountable for their pre-learning and for working in teams.

3. Team assignments must promote both learning and team development.

4. Students must receive frequent and immediate feedback.

Michaelsen adds that "assignments that require groups to make decisions and enable them to report their decisions in a simple form will usually generate high levels of group interaction" and are:

- Significant (correlated to important course objectives, meaningful to the future work that the course might prepare a student for)

- The same for all teams in the course.

- About making a decision – providing a simple answer – based on complex analysis of data or application of course principles.

- Simultaneously reported to the whole class and evaluated then and there by the instructor. Controlled studies of initial implementations of team learning have shown increases in student engagement and mixed results for other outcomes.

Watch the videos below to have a better understanding of the concept:

Duke School of Medicine embraces Team-Based Learning

Have a glimpse of Team Based Learning from The Duke University School of Medicine as they showcase incorporating team-based learning into its medical curriculum to help better prepare future physicians.

Introduction to team based learning

Bradford School have introduced Team Based Learning at their school and in this video they highlight how the outcomes they needed are derived by having this method on board.  

Team Based Learning

This short animated video explains the concept of team based learning simply for newbies to get a basic understanding of the same.

What’s your take on this learning style?

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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