The 4 Principles Of Team-Based Learning

Nov 27, 2020 • 3min read

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As we’ve seen in our post on The Team-Based Learning Process (TBL), TBL consists of a specific process, from pre-work to peer evaluation, however, simply following this process is not enough to have a successful Team-Based Learning class. To really ensure that you’re helping students make a shift from understanding to applying concepts that’ll be useful for them in their professional lives, one must adhere to the 4 principles of TBL.

1. Properly formed & managed groups

2. Accountability

3. Immediate feedback

4. Team development

Principle 1: Groups must be properly formed and managed

In order to make sure that a group has been properly formed 3 things are necessary:

1. Groups should be as diverse as possible in terms of backgrounds, previous courses taken, nationalities, interests etc. This helps in bringing novel perspectives which translates into better-performing groups.

2. Coalitions should be avoided. Coalitions are usually created by a few team members sharing the same ethnicity, language, background, or simply being close friends from before. This can hinder the cohesion of a team as a whole in the long-run.

3. Students should stay on the same team throughout the term. This is to give time for groups to develop into high performing teams.

Principle 2: Student accountability for individual and group work

Given the interdependent nature of Team-Based Learning for students, it is important to ensure that students are not only accountable to the instructor but also to their teammates. Furthermore, groups should also be accountable as a unit.

When it comes to individual accountability, it is the Readiness Assurance Process (RAP) which is meant to ensure that students prepare before the class. The rationale for this is that in order for them and their teammates to have a fruitful discussion session, students need to come to the class prepared. Otherwise, any discussion that takes place during the class will be of no use. Moreover, coming unprepared also threatens group cohesion as other team members might resent those who did not come prepared.

Team accountability is assured through peer evaluation. Only students have enough information to be able to judge their peers’ participation. This is one of the many benefits of peer evaluation. If you are interested, you can learn more about the topic by reading our post on The Benefits Of Peer Evaluation In Team-Based Learning.

Principle 3: Frequent and immediate feedback

Feedback is vital for the whole of Team-Based Learning. It is particularly important for improving content retention. It can take place at several stages of the TBL process such as after the TRAT or after the peer evaluation. The latter has an added benefit which is to not only to help students learn the class content but also to learn how to improve as a team member.

Principle 4: Assignments that promote both learning and team development

It is imperative to design activities and assignments that require team interaction. Application activities are useful for achieving this as they allow students to apply the learned concepts to solve complex problems. It is best practice to create activities that allow students to make a decision as this usually promotes discussion.

Conclusion

Having these 4 principles in mind when conducting a Team-Based Learning session will allow you to help your students become increasingly capable of not only understanding the new concepts you are trying to communicate but also of being able to apply them in different contexts which will be immensely useful for them in their future careers.

Let’s recap the benefits of the 4 Team-Based Learning principles:

-Forming groups well: prevents mistrust and contributes to cohesion

-Student accountability: promotes contribution and team cohesion

-Frequent and immediate feedback: promotes learning and retention

-Assignments that promote team development: promotes learning and soft skill development

References

1. Michaelsen, Larry. Sweet, Michael. (2008). Team-Based Learning: Small Group Learning’s Next Big Step. New Directions For Teaching & Learning.

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Testimonials

Dr. Julie M Estis Associate Professor University of South Alabama
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"Oustanding tool for face-to-face, web-blended and fully online TBL courses! We've been using InteDashboard across several TBL classes at the University of South Alabama and are consistently impressed with the tool as well as the exceptional support from the team. We look forward to increasing utilization of InteDashboard through our campus-wide project."
Dr. Sandy Cook Senior Associate Dean, Education Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School
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"The administrative challenges behind TBL are often viewed as a major barrier to effective implementation. InteDashboard is the only technological solution that puts it all together, allowing the faculty to focus on creating the learning environment - not fumbling with papers, grading and pulling data from different sources."
Dr. John Chapman Assistant Professor Southern Virginia University
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"I'm convinced, and I've done a fair amount of looking over the past few years to identify an online quizzing/survey tool that allows for individual question submission and real-time feedback (especially for the TRAT). InteDashboard really is the premier solution in this category. Bar none. Hands down."
Dr. Jennifer Styron Assistant Professor Eastern Virginia Medical School
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"Ability to get real-time data on RAT test items during teaching and save this information (i.e. scores on assessments) has made the tool an essential element to my everyday online teaching."
Dr. Judy Currey Professor Deakin University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I love having real time access to my students performance data and knowing exactly what concepts have or haven’t been understood while they complete their IRATs and TRATs! InteDashboard has significantly enhanced the ease and effectiveness with which I prepare for, and teach in, my TBL classes at Deakin."
Dr. Tom DeWitt Professor Michigan State University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Overall, I’ve been really pleased with how InteDashboard has elevated the ability to engage students in Team-based learning."
Victor Holmes Assistant Professor University of North Texas Health Science Center
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The InteDashboard platform is unique in what it offers for educators and learners. The ability to interact, work with the quizzes easily, and general functionality of the program are key features not to miss. I have been able to create a more experiential learning environment allowing learners to immediately dive into experiences that simulate real clinical challenges."
Dr. Sarada Harichand Bulchand Lead Associate Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard is a fantastic and very useful platform to conduct classes in a team-based learning setting, probably because it has all the features that team-based learning requires. The features on InteDashboard are so nuanced that they help in enhancing the learning of students, which is the core objective that the educators try to achieve from TBL methodology."
Matthew Robson Senior Learning Designer Macquarie University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The feature which we find most valuable is the automated grading and item analysis dashboards. They effectively provide staff and students within information that help inform what the clarification session should address. Also, The InteDashboard team provides great support. The team has been responsive to our feedback when we have asked for a possible enhancement to their tool in the past!"
Dr Chitra Pai Professor Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The support staff was prompt when we were in the initial phase of integrating it into Canvas. It provided the benefits of graded IRAT and TRAT and was really a seamless way to provide active learning in an online environment."
Tanya Bomsta Curriculum Project Manager The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Tech support is great, the software is easy to use and learn, online TBL is awesome (and helpful in this time of the pandemic), and the ability for easy peer review is stellar."
Dr Grady Campbell Professor Nova Southeastern University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Student evaluations were higher the semester we used InteDashboard than the previous semesters we held TBL in in-person setting."
Russell Marcus Department Chair & Associate Professor Hamilton College
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The great advantage of InteDashboard is that it is a single platform for RATs, peer evaluation, and 4S activities."
Hillel W. Cohen, Dr.P.H. Professor Associate Director of Curriculum, Clinical Research Training Program Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard allowed a seamless transition from paper-pencil response forms to electronic response."
Dr Gemma Quinn Senior Lecturer University of Bradford
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"It's changed the way we do TBL and allowed us to do it effectively online."
Michael E. Woods, Ph.D. Associate Professor Pathology & Director of Research Laboratories Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard gives me the ability to run online TBLs with ease. The interface is intuitive for faculty and students and matches what we would have done in the classroom."
Paul Mcdermott Senior Lecturer University of East Anglia School of Pharmacy
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I have recommended the product to many people already. It is a very versatile product with features that can be applied across a wide range of pedagogies. I have presented this tool to my school not just as a TBL tool but also a way to collect and analyse MCQ data and as a way to facilitate group learning and peer evaluation"
Dr. Julie M Estis Associate Professor University of South Alabama
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Oustanding tool for face-to-face, web-blended and fully online TBL courses! We've been using InteDashboard across several TBL classes at the University of South Alabama and are consistently impressed with the tool as well as the exceptional support from the team. We look forward to increasing utilization of InteDashboard through our campus-wide project."
Dr. Sandy Cook Senior Associate Dean, Education Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The administrative challenges behind TBL are often viewed as a major barrier to effective implementation. InteDashboard is the only technological solution that puts it all together, allowing the faculty to focus on creating the learning environment - not fumbling with papers, grading and pulling data from different sources."
Dr. John Chapman Assistant Professor Southern Virginia University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I'm convinced, and I've done a fair amount of looking over the past few years to identify an online quizzing/survey tool that allows for individual question submission and real-time feedback (especially for the TRAT). InteDashboard really is the premier solution in this category. Bar none. Hands down."
Dr. Jennifer Styron Assistant Professor Eastern Virginia Medical School
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Ability to get real-time data on RAT test items during teaching and save this information (i.e. scores on assessments) has made the tool an essential element to my everyday online teaching."
Dr. Judy Currey Professor Deakin University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I love having real time access to my students performance data and knowing exactly what concepts have or haven’t been understood while they complete their IRATs and TRATs! InteDashboard has significantly enhanced the ease and effectiveness with which I prepare for, and teach in, my TBL classes at Deakin."
Dr. Tom DeWitt Professor Michigan State University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Overall, I’ve been really pleased with how InteDashboard has elevated the ability to engage students in Team-based learning."
Victor Holmes Assistant Professor University of North Texas Health Science Center
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The InteDashboard platform is unique in what it offers for educators and learners. The ability to interact, work with the quizzes easily, and general functionality of the program are key features not to miss. I have been able to create a more experiential learning environment allowing learners to immediately dive into experiences that simulate real clinical challenges."
Dr. Sarada Harichand Bulchand Lead Associate Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard is a fantastic and very useful platform to conduct classes in a team-based learning setting, probably because it has all the features that team-based learning requires. The features on InteDashboard are so nuanced that they help in enhancing the learning of students, which is the core objective that the educators try to achieve from TBL methodology."
Matthew Robson Senior Learning Designer Macquarie University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The feature which we find most valuable is the automated grading and item analysis dashboards. They effectively provide staff and students within information that help inform what the clarification session should address. Also, The InteDashboard team provides great support. The team has been responsive to our feedback when we have asked for a possible enhancement to their tool in the past!"
Dr Chitra Pai Professor Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The support staff was prompt when we were in the initial phase of integrating it into Canvas. It provided the benefits of graded IRAT and TRAT and was really a seamless way to provide active learning in an online environment."
Tanya Bomsta Curriculum Project Manager The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Tech support is great, the software is easy to use and learn, online TBL is awesome (and helpful in this time of the pandemic), and the ability for easy peer review is stellar."
Dr Grady Campbell Professor Nova Southeastern University
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Student evaluations were higher the semester we used InteDashboard than the previous semesters we held TBL in in-person setting."
Russell Marcus Department Chair & Associate Professor Hamilton College
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The great advantage of InteDashboard is that it is a single platform for RATs, peer evaluation, and 4S activities."
Hillel W. Cohen, Dr.P.H. Professor Associate Director of Curriculum, Clinical Research Training Program Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard allowed a seamless transition from paper-pencil response forms to electronic response."
Dr Gemma Quinn Senior Lecturer University of Bradford
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"It's changed the way we do TBL and allowed us to do it effectively online."
Michael E. Woods, Ph.D. Associate Professor Pathology & Director of Research Laboratories Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard gives me the ability to run online TBLs with ease. The interface is intuitive for faculty and students and matches what we would have done in the classroom."
Paul Mcdermott Senior Lecturer University of East Anglia School of Pharmacy
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I have recommended the product to many people already. It is a very versatile product with features that can be applied across a wide range of pedagogies. I have presented this tool to my school not just as a TBL tool but also a way to collect and analyse MCQ data and as a way to facilitate group learning and peer evaluation"
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Oustanding tool for face-to-face, web-blended and fully online TBL courses! We've been using InteDashboard across several TBL classes at the University of South Alabama and are consistently impressed with the tool as well as the exceptional support from the team. We look forward to increasing utilization of InteDashboard through our campus-wide project."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The administrative challenges behind TBL are often viewed as a major barrier to effective implementation. InteDashboard is the only technological solution that puts it all together, allowing the faculty to focus on creating the learning environment - not fumbling with papers, grading and pulling data from different sources."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I'm convinced, and I've done a fair amount of looking over the past few years to identify an online quizzing/survey tool that allows for individual question submission and real-time feedback (especially for the TRAT). InteDashboard really is the premier solution in this category. Bar none. Hands down."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Ability to get real-time data on RAT test items during teaching and save this information (i.e. scores on assessments) has made the tool an essential element to my everyday online teaching."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I love having real time access to my students performance data and knowing exactly what concepts have or haven’t been understood while they complete their IRATs and TRATs! InteDashboard has significantly enhanced the ease and effectiveness with which I prepare for, and teach in, my TBL classes at Deakin."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Overall, I’ve been really pleased with how InteDashboard has elevated the ability to engage students in Team-based learning."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The InteDashboard platform is unique in what it offers for educators and learners. The ability to interact, work with the quizzes easily, and general functionality of the program are key features not to miss. I have been able to create a more experiential learning environment allowing learners to immediately dive into experiences that simulate real clinical challenges."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard is a fantastic and very useful platform to conduct classes in a team-based learning setting, probably because it has all the features that team-based learning requires. The features on InteDashboard are so nuanced that they help in enhancing the learning of students, which is the core objective that the educators try to achieve from TBL methodology."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The feature which we find most valuable is the automated grading and item analysis dashboards. They effectively provide staff and students within information that help inform what the clarification session should address. Also, The InteDashboard team provides great support. The team has been responsive to our feedback when we have asked for a possible enhancement to their tool in the past!"
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The support staff was prompt when we were in the initial phase of integrating it into Canvas. It provided the benefits of graded IRAT and TRAT and was really a seamless way to provide active learning in an online environment."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Tech support is great, the software is easy to use and learn, online TBL is awesome (and helpful in this time of the pandemic), and the ability for easy peer review is stellar."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"Student evaluations were higher the semester we used InteDashboard than the previous semesters we held TBL in in-person setting."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"The great advantage of InteDashboard is that it is a single platform for RATs, peer evaluation, and 4S activities."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard allowed a seamless transition from paper-pencil response forms to electronic response."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"It's changed the way we do TBL and allowed us to do it effectively online."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"InteDashboard gives me the ability to run online TBLs with ease. The interface is intuitive for faculty and students and matches what we would have done in the classroom."
Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill Star Fill
"I have recommended the product to many people already. It is a very versatile product with features that can be applied across a wide range of pedagogies. I have presented this tool to my school not just as a TBL tool but also a way to collect and analyse MCQ data and as a way to facilitate group learning and peer evaluation"