New TBL Workshop Activity


Facilitator Directions

Step One:

Have participants watch Video

Step Two:

Have individuals complete analysis alone, determining for themselves the extent the video is an example of TBL on a scale of 0-10 (10 being a perfect example of TBL and O if no aspects of TBL were seen). Prompt them to be prepared to say WHY.

Step Three:

Have teams pool individual analysis and achieve a team consensus
Have them compare their scores with their teammates, discuss them, and find consensus.

Simultaneously Report:

Have team’s write their score on one of the white half-sheet pads on your table and prepare to hold it up when you are prompted. Then ask them WHY as you debrief the activity. Reporting is pretty powerful with teams discussing each of the 4S’s and the extent to which it is present. Ratings are usually somewhere between 2 to 4.

Why TBL?

Team-Based Learning (TBL) is a unique and powerful form of small group learning that enables you to realize the full potential of the flipped classroom by providing coherent organizational structures to design your entire course. By using TBL you can ensure that your students come to class prepared and then help them build on their preparation to turn them into masters at applying the course content to solve problems.

At its heart, TBL is about student teams making judgements and difficult decisions – based on complex data analysis – then publicly committing to those decisions and quickly and efficiently getting focused feedback on the quality of their decision-making. This decision and feedback loop helps students clarify their thinking and deepen their learning.

Some TBL History

In 1979, Larry Michaelsen found that his class size had been tripled from 40 to 120 students. He had been using a case-based Socratic teaching approach that involves facilitating problem-solving discussions. He knew that he had two major challenges;
how to get students to come to class prepared and if they come prepared how to engage everyone in effective problem-solving where teams are getting frequent and focused feedback on the quality of their thinking.

He developed an approach that succeeds with both, that is very close to the structures that TBL classrooms use today.

He made sure that students came prepared by using an ingenious approach where students were first tested individually and then in re-tested in teams. This process became known as the “Readiness Assurance Process”. As he listened to the team test discussions he realized that students were actually discussing the exact material he would have been forced to cover in a lecture.

Once he had the students “ready.” he moved them to problem-solving. He devised an ingenious problem-solving framework that became known as the “4 S” framework – where students worked on a Significant Problem, the Same Problem, where they had to make a Specific Choice, and make a Simultaneous Report. Michaelsen found that this structured problem-solving method for in-class activities really helped to deeply engage students with the content and readily understand how to apply their learning.

What instructors are saying about TBL

[i] Sibley, J. & Ostafichuk, P. (2014). Getting Started with Team-Based Learning Sterling, VA: Stylus.