Promoting Student Persistence and Critical Thinking with Team-Based Learning

Welcome to the Vancouver Island Team-Based Learning Institute, August 9-10-11, 2022 at Vancouver Island University.

Members of the VIU Faculty can sign up to participate in this project here.

Non-VIU faculty are also welcome to participate, as seats are available. Please visit our page specifically for VIU Guests.

Imagine a classroom where…students come prepared because they know that their contributions during in-class activities will be consequential. They know they’ll be expected to participate, and they know their peers will be there to work with them. They look forward to class because they own the learning objectives and process.

Don’t be misled by the name. The Michaelsen-Knight-Fink (2002) model of “Team-Based Learning” is NOT just group work. It’s a comprehensive instructional approach designed to foster student independence and personal responsibility for learning. It works in any discipline and with any content—from the Humanities to the Sciences to the Trades to Professional programs. The key is a simple, coherent set of protocols that ensure an alignment of forces for high-level learning and rich student interaction. For an overview of TBL, please visit UBC’s brief web page summary:

What are faculty members saying about Team-Based Learning?

  • “I noticed that commitment was way up. Students dealing with huge issues out of class…still showed up because they didn’t want to let their teams down.”
  •  “For the first time my students are consistently coming to class prepared.”
  •  “I used to dread teaching this course because the content was so dry. Now I’m enjoying it, and my students are really getting into it.”
  •  “The other day I went 20 minutes over the scheduled class time, and NO ONE said anything, they were THAT engaged!”
  •  “It’s fun to set students loose on a problem, then stand back and watch them go at it.
  • “I am amazed at how effectively [students] can run with any task I give them, because of the habits and relationship that develops with their teams.  An imperfect class, over the course of the semester, is still far more engaged, energetic, and meaningful for the students than a standard class would be.”

About the Project Facilitators

The TBL Institute will be led by veteran users of TBL, who are also experienced trainers of faculty using the TBL method. Tine Reimers and Bill Roberson of Vancouver Island University, will be joined by Jim Sibley of University of British Columbia. Together, the three of them have coached hundreds of post-secondary instructors in the use of TBL, throughout North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

What will you accomplish in this Course Redesign Project?

Participants will learn reliable ways to ensure student buy-in and rich classroom interactions. TBL practices are specifically designed to eliminate the most common types of less-than-productive student behaviour, such as failing to prepare, social loafing, reluctance to participate or dominance by strong personalities during discussions.

By the end of the August 9-10-11 Workshop, you will have in your possession major components of your redesigned course, for the purposing of implementation in the Fall 2022 semester. You will also have a toolbox of proven practices, and a template for course outlines and assignments where students consistently take ownership of their learning.

What will happen in the TBL Institute? Participants will…

  • Experience a live TBL classroom from the students’ perspective. Day One of the Institute stages a simulation of a student experience in a TBL course, so you’ll better understand the “WHY” behind the method
  • Design and develop a course based on the use of TBL protocols and practices
  • Experience, evaluate, and then design TBL-informed activities and assignments
  • Learn tools and techniques for managing a TBL course and facilitating a TBL classroom
  • Re-design a syllabus for a TBL course, including policies and grading schemes that promote student autonomy and responsibility
  • Receive direct feedback on draft TBL teaching plans

Key Dates and Commitments

  • Before August 9: Advance Preparation Time (complete a selection of readings, 3-4 hours)
  • Tuesday, August 9: Day One of TBL Institute, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM (breakfast and lunch included)
  • Wednesday, August 10: Independent course development work (3-6 hours in a location of your choice)
  • Thursday, August 11: Day Three of TBL Institute, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM (breakfast and lunch included)
  • August 29-September 5 (Before the first week of classes): Meeting with facilitators to get feedback on your new design and first two weeks of lesson plans.
  • Fall semester, 2022: Implement the new design, and meet the benchmarks as outlined below.
  • Week 4 of fall semester: Early Feedback Survey of Students, targeting their response to key elements/practices of the TBL method within your course.
  • Week 5-6: Informal classroom visits by one of the facilitators.
  • Week 6-7: Lunch with TBL colleagues, to exchange ideas and experiences
  • December 2022: Write a brief Reflection Essay to document your journey and what you learned from your work in the program.

Next Steps

To request a seat in this project go to Once we receive your request we will follow up with you and provide you with additional information. (Non-VIU faculty can find registration information at

If you have questions about the application process, or about the program, itself, please contact Tine Reimers at  or Bill Roberson at