Implementing Team Based Learning in an Information Literacy Course

Marijn Post, Marja Duizendstraal, Renée de Waal, Marian van Harmelen


Introduction: Motivating students to improve their Information Literacy (IL) skills can be a challenge. As a pilot, we implemented Team Based Learning (TBL) in our IL lessons. TBL is an interactive learning approach based on the “flipped classroom” concept, offering students opportunities to gather skills via immediate feedback during individual and team activities. Moreover, TBL promises to be an attractive and activating way of learning. We were interested if TBL, A) indeed activates students and B) improves their IL skills more than with lectures and self-tuition.

Methods: TBL was implemented in a first year bachelor IL course in the year 2015-2016. Student were asked to study three IL e-learning modules before class. The obtained knowledge was assessed individually during an Individual Readiness Assessment test (IRAT) and in a team via a Team Readiness Assessment test (TRAT) using “scratch and win cards”. After this, teams were given an IL case and the members had to come to a consensus about the best solution out of a couple options provided. Finally, students took a written exam, which was the same as used in this course in the year 2014-2015, when TBL was not applied yet.

We compared the grades of the written exam between the two academic years using a Mann Whitney U test (P<0.05). Students’ opinion about TBL was polled using a 34 question student survey.

Results: The mean written exam grades were significantly higher in the TBL year than in the preceding year without TBL (respectively, 7.6 ± 1.42 vs 6.5 ± 1.31, P<0.001). The student survey showed that students were positive about the IRATs and TRATs, but neutral about other TBL parts.

Conclusion: TBL seems to be a good didactical method to motivate students and enhance their IL skills. 


team based learning, information literacy, flipped classroom


Copyright (c) 2016 Marijn Post, Marja Duizendstraal, Renée de Waal, Marian van Harmelen

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ISSN: 1890-5900