Using the Team-Based Learning Model

Team-based learning is a research-based teaching strategy.. While you can use the full model, found here, even using a slightly modified version can provide positive results.  


This strategy will require several classes to complete and for both students and professor to complete some work outside of class. 


Here’s how it works:


Before Class


Students complete an independent assignment. It could be a reading from the textbook, a video, or reading and studying other materials. The important thing is that the students really take the time to complete the assignment and work towards understanding. 


Class 1


  1. Students take an Individual Readiness Assurance Test (iRAT) to determine whether they understood the material and to hold them accountable for their independent assignment. 
  2. Students then work in teams to answer the same questions. In the official version, students would answer by scratching off their choice on a paper that would reveal whether their answer was correct. In a modified version a simple paper version, or even a computer-based form could do the same thing. 


After Class


The professor will review the answers and see where common student misunderstandings are. 


Class 2-3 


  1. The professor reviews any of the material the students didn’t understand. 
  2. Students work together on problem-solving activities that apply what they have learned and extends their thinking 
  3. Students share their answers with the class. 


The key to success with this model is ensuring that student teams are created thoughtfully. Students should not choose their own teams. They should be chosen from different majors (if possible), life experience (i.e. worked full time before, parents, etc), and backgrounds. English Language Learners or students with disabilities should not be all in one group, but be grouped with the other students. 


Using this model, professors of any size class are able to create student teams while increasing individual accountability. 

by Stacy Brown

Published November 23, 2021

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