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Using Team-Based Learning to Improve Learning and the Student Experience in a Mechanical Design Course

[+] Author Affiliations
Peter M. Ostafichuk, H. F. Machiel Van der Loos, James Sibley

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Paper No. IMECE2010-39270, pp. 405-412; 8 pages
  • ASME 2010 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6: Engineering Education and Professional Development
  • Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, November 12–18, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4443-4
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


In 2008, a design course on mechanical components (MECH 325) at the University of British Columbia was converted from a conventional lecture-based format to a team-based learning (TBL) format. The MECH 325 course is content-rich and covers the characteristics, uses, selection, and sizing of common mechanical components (including gears, flexible drives, bearings, and so on). With the shift in course format to TBL, student performance on exams as well as responses to teaching evaluations and course surveys all indicate an improvement in the students’ perception of the course and student learning. Specifically, performance on multiple choice exam questions from different years (remaining similar in both style and difficulty) increased by 17%. Likewise, on official University teaching evaluations over a five-year period, students rated the TBL version of the course as having a reduced workload, seeming less advanced, seeming more relevant, and being more interesting. On informal course surveys, 76% of students on average indicated they felt the various elements of TBL were effective towards the course aims. Finally, from instructor observations, the shift to TBL has resulted in increased student engagement and collaboration, and an increased emphasis on higher-level learning, such as application, synthesis, and judgment.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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