Team-based Learning

Team-based Learning (TBL) is a type of collaborative learning that uses specific assessment techniques and social processes. TBL modules are taught using a three-step process: individual preparation, in-class readiness assurance testing, and an application-focused exercise.

Individual Preparation: This is done outside of class. Students must learn the material which can be text, video, and/or other content formats.

In-class Readiness Assurance Testing (RAT): Students first individually complete a multiple choice “quiz” called an individual readiness assurance test (IRAT). After they submit their individual answers, student form into their permanently assigned teams and take the RAT again as a group using Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique (IF-AT) cards. These cards give students several opportunities to come up with the correct answer and instantly let them know if their answer is right or wrong.

If students feel a particular question is poorly written or that their initial answer was correct, they are able to appeal during the class. The instructor may also take time at this point to review any material that is still problematic for the students.

In-class Application Focused Exercise: At the conclusion of the RAT, students spend the rest of the class applying what they have learned and extending their knowledge. Each team is given a challenge scenario, and they must reach a consensus on what is the best solution. Teams then share their information with the class and discuss.


Four Principle Underlying Team-Based Learning
  • Groups should be properly formed (e.g. Intellectual talent should be equally distributed among the groups). These teams are fixed for the whole course even if several students drop the course, the groups are not reformed.

  • Students are accountable for their pre-learning and for working in teams.

  • Team assignments must promote both learning and team development.

  • Students must receive frequent and immediate feedback.

For more information, view the Team-Based Learning Collaborative website.

Check out these resources from workshops led by Billie Franchini, Interim Director of the Institute for Teaching, Learning and Academic Leadership (ITLAL) at the University at Albany.

You may also contact the Center for Learning and Teaching’s Instructional Design Services (IDS) for help in implementing TBL in your course.