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Nov 27, 2020 3 min read

Implementing Synchronous Online Team-Based Learning Here...

Synchronous online TBL is a modality where the educator and the learners are not physically co-located, however they are virtually connected in a live manner typically through web based video or non-video conference. Usually learners and educators will connect online at a specific time each week.

Online TBL Implementation Process

To begin with, a requirement of online TBL is using a web video conferencing software. A key criteria for the software is the ability to break participants into teams. We understand that BigBlueButton and Zoom have this capability.

We will walk through the key areas of TBL and how you can use InteDashboard to implement them in a synchronous online modality:


Typically, pre-work is delivered to learners through an existing learning management system in the form of lecture slides, assigned readings or videos. Students review this material at their own time before it’s time for them to show up to class and take their IRAT, just like they would for a face to face TBL course.

Individual Readiness Assurance Test (“IRAT”)

The online TBL session begins with the IRAT. Students join the video conferencing tool at the pre-decided start time of the class, after which the instructor announced the starting of the IRAT. If you’re using InteDashboard, you can start the IRAT for all learners at the same time by clicking the “Start IRAT” button. Educators can monitor results in real-time while the IRAT progresses

   Monitor In Real-Time

Team Readiness Assurance Test (“TRAT”)

Immediately after the IRAT, educators can begin the TRAT by clicking the “Start TRAT” button on InteDashboard, which allows for an assigned team member to be the “team reporter” i.e. the person who answers questions on behalf of the team. So that teams can discuss their answers, use your video conferencing tool to create breakout rooms for each team. Teams can work through the TRAT receiving immediate feedback after each submission.

Team-Based Learning - immediate feedback
TRAT Immediate Feedback For Students

Similarly, instructors also receive immediate feedback of students' performance as they submit every question.

Team-Based Learning - TRAT
TRAT Immediate Feedback For Faculty


After the TRAT, educators have several options on how to address any remaining issues to be clarified.

Request questions from learners

One approach is to ask learners to flag any questions they may have either by speaking or by typing questions into the web conference software chat function. If learners are willing to raise questions this way, it can be a viable option. However, some learners are often hesitant to raise questions publicly in which case you can consider the following two options.

Review IRAT and TRAT data:

Educators can also review the “Item Analysis” sections of the InteDashboard IRAT and TRAT results screens. The Item Analysis allows educators to quickly highlight which questions individuals and teams struggle with the most by showing the fail rate and the amount of time each student or team took to answer the questions. The educator can then deliver a mini-lecture to address these concepts

Team-Based Learning - Item Analysis
Item Analysis

If you take a look at the image above, you can see that questions 2 and 5 have a 100% failure rate, implying that all teams had trouble answering this question correctly. Such questions with high failure rates can be addressed during your clarification session.


Clarifications function:

Finally, educators can use InteDashboard to ask teams for clarification on specific questions. Immediately following the TRAT, teams are asked to review the TRAT report and then identify questions that require clarification by checking them off and adding a comment to describe what they need clarified. The educator can then review these requests and either address them with a mini-lecture or assign teams to explain them to the entire class

Team-Based Learning - Clarification
 See which teams request clarification and assign teams to explain questions to the entire class

Application Cases

During the application phase, teams will again go into their breakout video conference rooms to discuss and solve the application exercises. Teams can then answer in InteDashboard for multiple choice applications. Educators may want to request the teams to also include a comment justifying their answer. This will allow educators to potentially have an easier time facilitating a discussion.

For free response applications, teams can upload response as either free text or files. For MCQ applications, teams can be requested to provide a comment justifying their response. For free text, there is the option to require teams to limit their response to a specific number of words and also for educators to highlight specific keywords in a response which may help with facilitation.

For simultaneous reporting, educators can click on the “release” button and all learners will be able to see all the team responses. Alternatively, the educator can share their results screen with learner to highlight and discuss.

E-gallery walk

We have recently added an “e-gallery walk” feature. This feature is designed to facilitate discussion of free response application exercises.

After a free response application an educator can initiate and e-gallery walk. During the e-gallery walk, teams would review all of the other teams responses and decide and “vote” for the best response other than their own.

Like a face-to-face or blended gallery work, students learn by observing the work of others as well as by critically evaluating the performance of other teams.

Team-Based Learning - E-gallery walk
E-gallery Walk

For more information on how to use InteDashboard to conduct an E-gallery walk, refer to this article.

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