Two Heads Are Better Than One: Putting Team-Based Learning to the Test

When it comes to tackling a major initiative in the workplace, most leaders assign a team to handle the project. So, why is most training done in the workplace independently? If employers want to ensure their teams are cohesive, it may be worth looking at putting a team-based learning approach to work.

What is Team-Based Learning (TBL)?

According to researchers at Brigham Young University, there are two major steps to implementing team-based learning. During TBL, employees are strategically organized into permanent groups (for the entire length of the training) and the content is organized into major units (typically an odd number, not more than seven). Before any training begins, team members must study assigned materials because each unit begins. This study period ends with a short test (over the key ideas from the readings) which employees first complete as individuals, then they take the same test again as a team, coming to a consensus on team answers. 

Next, employees receive immediate feedback on the team test, and they then have the opportunity to write evidence-based appeals if they feel they can make valid arguments for their answer to questions, which they got wrong. The final step is to allow the facilitator to clarify any misperceptions during the team test and the appeals. Once the RAP(what is this?) is completed, the remainder of the time is spent on activities and assignments requiring employees to practice using the course content. 

Benefits of TBL

  • Employees are accountable for individual and group work – TBL allows employees to feel comfortable working independently and in a group, which should make them adaptable in future projects.
  • Training tasks promote learning and team development – new teams are constantly developing in organizations, which can cause disruption. However, TBL allows employees to learn and develop together, thereby forging a level of trust between each other.

Drawbacks of TBL

  • Teams must receive frequent and immediate feedback – If there is a facilitator who is not fully committed to the training and cannot provide the feedback required, TBL can result in employee confusion or apathy. It is important during the testing phase that all questions are answered and the facilitator is available to help all parties to come to a consensus on these answers.
  • Teams need to be diverse – each group should contain a mix of employee characteristics to bring previous work and practical experience to the training, as well as demographic characteristics like gender, ethnicity, and so on. Without diversity, groups may not be fully equipped to succeed without members who will bring different perspectives to the training.

What will your first step be to evaluate team-based learning for your organization? Learn more about how team-based learning can be achieved on a virtual platform with the Ascendis LMS!