Team Based Learning

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Last winter semester I successfully used a team based learning (TBL) approach in all the classes that I taught. TBL is a structured form of small group learning that holds students accountable for pre-class preparation, and provides students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and concepts, to think critically, and make group decisions. This approach can be effectively implemented in both large and small classes, and numerous studies demonstrate that TBL achieves better learning outcomes than individual learning.  The key elements of TBL are: 1) Students complete an individual readiness assessment quiz at the start of class, 2) they then collaborate within their assigned groups to complete the same quiz with immediate feedback being provided by "scratch-off" answer cards (IF-AT), 3) Students then work in their groups to complete a significant and challenging exercise, 4) Group solutions/conclusions are then discussed by the class, 5) Frequent and formal assessment of individual team member contributions is essential, and 6) Mini-lectures are used to clarify misconceptions and concepts that students struggled with. While a whole class period can be devoted to these activities, I used this approach once during each class period to address specific concepts and problems. Examples of a few activities that I used are: 1) Propose a set of community-based public health strategies to reduce the risk of obesity in the population, 2) Diagram how an increase in protein intake will increase urea production, 3) Diagram how dietary lipids are delivered to the liver. More detailed information (including team formation and peer evaluation) can be found in the links below. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions:


Team Based Learning Collaborative
Team-based learning: design, facilitation and participation
Team-based learning at Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching