Team Based Learning

The Team-Based Learning (TBL) method of instruction was developed by a business school to meet the need of having active learning sessions with increasing class sizes.

TBL changes the lecture format that traditionally uses class time to convey concepts by the instructor to application of course concepts by small student teams. Learners no longer are passive, but rather actively participating in their own learning. This method allows for all of the benefits of small group work in classes that have high student to faculty ratios.

The TBL process has three basic phases:

TBL Phases

Phase 1

  1. Learners study assigned materials independently (outside of class).

Phase 2 (20-30% of class time)

  1. Individual learners take a multiple choice exam (I-RAT: Individualized Readiness Assurance Test) to examine readiness to apply knowledge gained from Phase 1.
  2. Student teams retake the same multiple choice exam (known as the T-RAT: Team Readiness Assurance Test). Teams receive immediate feedback on their answers via IF-AT (immediate feedback assessment technique) sheets — See Figure 1.
  3. Instructor (who also must be a content expert) gives feedback on any concepts that were unclear to the learners. Instructor reviews RAT questions and discusses what was commonly missed.

Figure 1. IF-AT Sheet.

IF-AT Card

Phase 3 (70-80% of class time)

  1. Teams complete in-class application assignments (this can last several class periods) that promote collaboration, use of Phase 1 and 2 knowledge, problem solving/higher order cognitive skills, and identification of learning deficiencies.
  2. Throughout the session(s) teams simultaneously share their answers for the application exercises questions. This stimulates large group / inter-team discussion and can help strengthen learning.

Reasons to use TBL

  • Large groups have a small group active experience
  • Enhance problem-solving skills
  • Less faculty intensive than traditional small group experiences
  • Promotes teamwork

Additional TBL Resources