Team-Based Learning in STEM Courses: The Student Perspective

Background. Active learning is an evidence-based instructional strategy that facilitates rich discussions between students to deepen engagement and learning. At the core of active learning is continuous and collaborative interaction with peers on tasks designed for application of knowledge, problem-solving and critical thinking. One active learning pedagogical method, which has been shown to significantly increase a student’s mastery of course-content, is Team-Based Learning. In this collaborative approach, students work throughout the semester with the same team of 4 to 6 peers. Throughout the semester, they anonymously evaluate one another on cooperative skills, self-directed learning and interpersonal skills. While many students can thrive in these collaborative learning classrooms, it remains unknown how the Team-based Learning environment affects the experience for under-represented students in STEM. 


Goals. Our long-term goal is to identify teaching practices that promote a positive learning environment for under-represented student populations in STEM courses. Specifically, we will investigate whether underrepresented students in a Team-Based Learning course perceive the classroom to be inclusive and feel like they have a sense of belonging.