Paper versus Digital data capture in TBL: Impact on satisfaction and student engagement

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

While Team-Based Learning (TBL) has been touted for bringing greater student engagement in classrooms, traditional means of implementing the pedagogy such as the use of paper tests and applications, scratch cards can be labor intensive. Educators championing the benefits of TBL have been in search of ways to implement TBL more efficiently and at a larger scale.


A study conducted by Deakin University in Australia explored the feasibility and user satisfaction when adopting what they called Digital Team-Based Learning (D-TBL).

The study also observed student engagement and assessed facilitator experience in classes before and after implementing the online TBL software InteDashboard. This program streamlines some of these manual administrative processes. InteDashboard also collects real time data, which allows students to receive immediate feedback, and for teachers to improve the facilitation of key concepts. Surveys and questionnaires were collected from 162 students, including postgraduate nursing students and undergraduate optometry students, and 8 health faculty members for the study.


The majority of faculty and students preferred using only InteDashboard or the combination of InteDashboard on iPads along with scratch cards. The teachers reported a greater preference for the digital method citing time saved as an important factor. Hundred percent of the faculty were happy to use the D-TBL with none showing a strong preference for the paper TBL processes. Among the students, 79% were happy to use D-TBL with 21% having a preference for paper based TBL methods.


Apart from preferences, the students’ self-reported engagement scores were higher after implementing TBL according to surveys.


In terms of analyzing the fun factor there was only a marginal preference among students for using paper based TBL. However the faculty perception of students’ preference for paper TBL was much higher. This suggests that the students experience using digital TBL does not negatively affect the fun factor as much as the faculty had originally perceived.


Deakin’s researchers concluded that the larger scale adoption of TBL in various disciplines depends on the pedagogy being digitally delivered. “High satisfaction and student engagement with InteDashboard on iPads suggest learning via D-TBL is feasible, enjoyable and maintains the integrity and objective of TBL,” they said.

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