Team-based learning

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In education, team-based learning is learning by having learners work in teams to solve problems.[1][2]

Team-based learning can be a vehicle to enhance problem-based learning.[3]

Implementation of team learning

The four essential principles of team-based learning are:[4]

  1. Teams must be properly formed and managed. The students should be well mixed.
  2. Students must be made accountable for their individual and group work
  3. Team assignments must promote both learning and team development
  4. Students must have frequent and timely feedback.

Regarding team assignments, there are 4 S's:[5]

  1. Significant Problem. Select a relevant, significant problem.
  2. Same Problem. Teams work on the same problem, case or question.
  3. Specific Choice. Teams are required to make a specific choice.
  4. Simultaneous Report. Teams report their choice simultaneously.


Guidelines are available for how to report studies of team-based learning.[6]

Team-based learning improved medical students' performance on examination questions; this was especially true for students in the lower class percentiles.[7]

Several instruments, the STROBE[8], the Classroom Engagement Survey (CES - 8 or 9 items), and the Team Performance Scale (TPS - 18 items).[9] have been validated for measuring effectiveness. The CES has two subscales, learner’s participation (LP - 4 or 5 items) and learner enjoyment of class(EC - 3 items), which may be reported as means or totals of items within the subscales.[10]

Areas of application

Minimally structured teams

Software engineering

Network engineering

Structured teams




External links


  1. Knight, Arletta Bauman; Michaelsen, Larry K. (2004). Team-Based Learning: A Transformative Use of Small Groups in College Teaching. Stylus Publishing (VA). ISBN 1-57922-086-X. 
  2. Michaelsen, Larry K.; Dean X. Parmelee, Kathryn K. McMahon, Ruth E. Levine, Diane M. Billings (2007-11). Team-Based Learning for Health Professions Education: A Guide to Using Small Groups for Improving Learning, 1. Stylus Publishing. ISBN 157922248X. 
  3. Fink, L. Dee; Michaelsen, Larry K.; Knight, Arletta Bauman (2002). Team-based learning: a transformative use of small groups. New York: Praeger. ISBN 0-89789-863-X. 
  4. Michaelsen, LK. Getting Started with Team-based Learning
  5. Sibley, J. Team-based Learning: alternative to lecturing in large class settings.
  6. Haidet, Paul; Ruth E. Levine, Dean X. Parmelee, Sheila Crow, Frances Kennedy, P. Adam Kelly, Linda Perkowski, Larry Michaelsen, Boyd F. Richards (2012-03). "Perspective". Academic Medicine 87 (3): 292-299. DOI:10.1097/ACM.0b013e318244759e. ISSN 1040-2446. Retrieved on 2012-03-07. Research Blogging.
  7. Koles PG, Stolfi A, Borges NJ, Nelson S, Parmelee DX (2010). "The impact of team-based learning on medical students' academic performance.". Acad Med 85 (11): 1739-45. DOI:10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181f52bed. PMID 20881827. Research Blogging.
  8. O'Malley KJ, Moran BJ, Haidet P, Seidel CL, Schneider V, Morgan RO et al. (2003). "Validation of an observation instrument for measuring student engagement in health professions settings.". Eval Health Prof 26 (1): 86-103. PMID 12629924.
  9. Thompson BM, Levine RE, Kennedy F, Naik AD, Foldes CA, Coverdale JH et al. (2009). "Evaluating the quality of learning-team processes in medical education: development and validation of a new measure.". Acad Med 84 (10 Suppl): S124-7. DOI:10.1097/ACM.0b013e3181b38b7a. PMID 19907373. Research Blogging.
  10. Clark MC, Nguyen HT, Bray C, Levine RE (2008). "Team-based learning in an undergraduate nursing course.". J Nurs Educ 47 (3): 111-7. PMID 18380264.