Monthly Archives: September 2018

Team-Based Learning Improves Course Outcomes in Introductory Psychology

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Submitted by Katrina Markowicz

Article Reference

Travis, L. L., Hudson, N. W., Henricks-Lepp, G. M., Street, W. S., & Weidenbenner, J. (2016). Team-based learning improves course outcomes in introductory psychology. Teaching of Psychology, 43(2), 99-107.

Article DOI


Summary of Article

-To compare two styles of teaching, team-based learning and lecturing, and examine the influence of these teaching styles on student satisfaction and exam performance.

-Introductory psychology classes (1,130 undergraduate students, 29 sections, 15 graduate instructors)
-14 out of 15 instructors randomly assigned to condition (team-based learning or lecture)
-Team-based learning (TBL) condition: 12 class sessions dedicated to completing a TBL module. Modules included: Out of class preparation: read 10 pages of textbook, In-class quiz (individual), Group quiz (same as above) taken as a team with feedback provided, Team application activities
-Lecture condition: not allowed to implement team-based learning quizzes or activities and taught via primarily lecture
-Each condition completed the same midterm and final (both multiple choice), and a course evaluation survey at two time points (mid-semester and end-semester)
-Other measures included: perceptions of TBL, preference for TBL over lecture, positivity towards TBL, and involvement in TBL.

Main Results:
-Students in TBL condition performed moderately better on both exams than students in lecture condition.
-Results seemed to show that these gains were related to content covered in TBL modules.
-There were no differences in course satisfaction between groups.
-TBL students expressed positive attitudes towards activities, and preferred lecture style learning over TBL.

Author’s conclusions: TBL is an effective method of learning which does not negatively impact course satisfaction.

Discussion Questions

  1. The two outcome variables for this study were student satisfaction and exam performance. Using Bloom’s taxonomy, specifically the cognitive domain (i.e., knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation), what other outcomes would be important to assess if this study were to be replicated? What types of assignments could be integrated into the team-based learning approach to foster learning in these other domains?
  2. Would you use the team-based learning approach in your own teaching and how (e.g., to supplement lectures)? Did you like it? What are the pros and cons?
  3. How do you feel about the findings about the increase in exam scores for the team-based learning students, but the preference for lectures? How does this change or not change your view on what types of activities to incorporate in with your future lectures? How does the information presented in other readings from this week supplement your viewpoint?