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What is Team-Based Learning?

Team-Based Learning is a hallmark of the UCM Department of Management and its unique offerings.

Team-based learning is specifically designed to ensure you master critical content knowledge and develop the skills needed to work in interdisciplinary teams and apply course concepts to solve complex problems.

The focus of TBL is on what you are doing in the classroom and how you are learning from your experiences. Unlike typical group work that is completed outside of class or individually, we focus on building team skills through assignments and activities that are appropriate for full team participation and are done in the classroom. With TBL, the majority of the content is covered through your individual pre-class study. You spend class time in active experiential assignments that require you to apply the course content to solve problems and defend your solutions. In addition, application-based assignments are designed to increase your motivation and create the opportunity to engage in give-and-take discussion.

Regardless of whether you look at the depth of learning taking place or the methods used to most effectively facilitate learning, adult learning theory clearly indicates that we learn the most by doing. In too many classrooms, the emphasis is on passive learning with participants listening to lectures. While this method allows you the opportunity to acquire new information, it contributes little toward actual learning. The learning achieved through TBL includes not only the ability to recall information, but the ability to:

  • Analyze the situation at hand.
  • Determine what information is relevant.
  • Apply the information in new circumstances.
  • Identify and integrate relationships between various concepts.
  • Make more effective decisions.

According to TBL, individuals learn more from one another than they do on their own. However, TBL is not simply a matter of putting students in small groups; it typically requires changing the entire structure of a course.

TBL consists of repeating sequences of three phases:

  • Phase one involves independent study outside of class to master key concepts from the assigned readings.
  • Phase two focuses on ensuring the students' readiness to apply phase one knowledge through information recall and comprehension. At this point, the instructor can further explain any concepts to the students who were not able to learn on their own.
  • Phase three focuses on higher-level learning and skill development, including the application, analysis and teaching of others, and experiential activities for the teams in which they are required to use the content to answer questions and apply their skills.