Team-Based Learning: The Key to Increase Student Engagement
Team-based learning
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Team-Based Learning: The Key to Increase Student Engagement

A major concern for online course creators is how to make distance learning engaging and effective. Especially when teaching larger groups. No other learning strategy works quite like Team-based learning (TBL) when it comes to dealing with larger student strength. It was purposely designed to tackle this issue during business schools by Professor Larry Michaelson in the 1980s. Since then, it has been in use by eLearning creatives and teachers.

Besides, team-based work skills are in high demand. As per the World Economic Forum, it ranks in its top 10 sought for skills.

So, let’s see what TBL is all about and how it can fix your online learning concerns.

What is Team-based Learning?

Team-based learning is an innovative strategy, much like the flipped-classroom model, where students are the central focus. Here students are divided into permanent groups for the duration of the course. Before every session, each group is provided with the course material which they evaluate individually and then collaboratively. Finally, students get their feedbacks and solve practice exercises to evaluate their learning. This entire process is called TBL rhythm.

The Team-Based Learning Collaborative defines TBL as follows:

Team-based Learning is an evidence-based collaborative learning teaching strategy designed around units of instruction, known as “modules,” that are taught in a three-step cycle: preparation, in-class readiness assurance testing, and application-focused exercise.

For greater clarity, TBL rhythm has phases.

  1. Pre-class preparation – students get course material to learn
  2. Individual readiness assurance test (iRAT) – students get multiple-choice quiz according to the BLoom’s Taxonomy to assess their individual input.
  3. Team readiness assurance test (tRAT) – Students solve the same test but collaboratively and give each other feedbacks.
  4. Feedback/Mini-lectures – Instructor gives a breakdown of the materials and gives thorough feedbacks to the students.
Team-based learning
Image courtesy: BMC Medical Education

Key elements of TBL

  • Groups: Groups are a basic and most crucial element of TBL. Therefore, it is important to ensure that it functions optimally. For this, make sure that there are sufficient resources for all the groups, Also not, that all groups get equal share. One important thing that instructors needs to take care of is that friends don’t end up together. Otherwise, it will lead to in-group formation and disrupt the dynamics of the group.
  • Accountability: As TBL operates on dual levels; individual and group, it is necessary that every student and every group be aware of their responsibility. Students need to be aware of the fact that their individual effort will impact the group’s effort.
  • Feedback: This one goes without further explanation. Feedbacks are essential to learning like this. They must be instant, constructive, and presented carefully so as not to lose their meaning.
  • Assignements: AKA the tasks are important to measure and map the learning of the students. They provide a practical way for learners to engage with the content and see for themselves their weak and strong points. P.S. do not make the tasks too lenghty or too technical that it may deter the learners from solving them/

Benefits of Team-based Learning

Increased engagement

TBL isn’t just fun and games, but an effective model to keep students interested in the course. Research proves that students find traditional learning boring and work better with peers. TBL not only emphasizes individual learning but also group learning. Hence, making it a complete learning methodology that covers all aspects. Moreover, when made to work in groups, students feel a greater sense of responsibility and accountability to perform more and perform better.

Shares the load

Not only is TBL great and efficient for learners but also great for teachers. As the focus of learning is students, TBL takes off some load from the teachers. Rather than simply being passive consumers of information, learners also become active deliverers of information. Therefore, shrinking the lines of traditional student-teacher roles.

Improved self-assessment

A key life skill is individual evaluative skills. TBL enriches students where they become capable of evaluating their own performance and diagnosing their weaknesses better. Hence, helping them improve overall. Besides, students also learn how to assess others around them and help them through the careful process of feedback.

Greater sense of agency

People perform and learn better when they feel in control of the situation. Under the strict orders of others, one tends to become stressed and ends up underperforming. With TBL, students are in charge. This means that they feel a greater sense of agency but along with that they also have a greater responsibility of performing well for the sake of their groups.

Teachfloor: Your Team-based Learning solution

Feedback-based learning

When thinking about effective and efficient learning, we tend to focus more on experimenting with new strategies. However, we make a mistake by not equally focusing on choosing the right LMS for operating those strategies. This is why, even when you are trying out the most effective learning model, it fails to perform as it should.

Teachfloor is one such online learning platform that was designed for the very purpose of fostering collaborative learning. Being a world-class cohort-based/team-based learning platform, it works better for group learning than other LMS. To help run TBL effectively, Teachfloor offers a series of features like Peer Review and Discussion Walls. These two features are perfect for individual and group feedback. One can easily and instantly respond to the queries and performance of other participants.

Moreover, it comes with Zoom integration. This means you do not have to have a separate app for live meetings and can run all your tasks from just one platform. For instructors, there are additional features like the automatic analytics dashboard to review student performance. With the help of a quiz maker, teachers can quickly whip up mini-tests for students to deduce how effective is the learning strategy after all.

Still not convinced about Team-based learning, try it out with Teachfloor today and see the amazing results for yourselves. Request a demo now!

Written by
Mar Bovi
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