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Learning Enhancement and Development

Session 1B

Introduction to Team Based Learning (TBL)

Rebecca McCarter - University of Bradford, Faculty of Life Sciences

This workshop will introduce participants to team based learning (TBL) by letting them experience it just as a student would. TBL is a student centred, flipped teaching strategy designed to engage students. As the model is highly scaleable it is especially suited to achieving the benefits of small group teaching when used with large cohorts but it also makes a virtue of necessity and delivers many other advantages such as enhanced employability skills by, for example, helping students develop a more sophisticated understanding and broader experience base of team dynamics.

TBL shifts the focus of class time away from instructor delivered content and all learning activities are developed using a framework that ensures students must grapple with and apply the course concepts in authentic ways as part of a learning team.  They then have the opportunity to gain insight into and develop their critical analysis of other approaches to the same problem by challenging the solutions other teams produce and defending their own choices and processes. The resulting commitment to the success of their team and opportunities for peer learning act as the catalyst for students to complete the preparatory work and positively engage with activities in class.

TBL has been implemented in every discipline and has been used effectively in classes as large as 350 students. A TBL unit consists of 4 elements:-

  1. Strategically formed, diverse teams
  2. Incentive framework to ensure students come prepared
  3. Helping students learn how to apply course concepts
  4. Hold students accountable and provide frequent feedback

The workshop will consist of a very short TBL cycle that builds on each of these critical components and explores how they reinforce each other in practice. Delegates will be sign posted to further resources.

By the end of this 1 hour interactive workshop participants will be able to explain the key components of a team based learning (TBL) session through first-hand experience, describe the benefits of using TBL as an active and collaborative learning strategy and identify how it might be of benefit to support an enquiry-based curriculum. The entire session is interactive so it is anticipated to be a dynamic exchange of best practice, tips and tricks.


Michaelsen, L. Knight, A. and Fink, L (2004) Team-based Learning: A transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing

Sibley, J and Ostafichuk, P (2014) Getting Started with Team Based Learning. Sterling, VA : Stylus Publishing