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Team Based Learning: Technology meets employability skills

4 minute read

In 2016, we began a global search for new and best practice learning methods that would significantly improve enjoyment of learning for jobseekers whilst in the training room and transition them to jobs quicker.

It was at a conference in Singapore in May 2018 where PeoplePlus Executive Chairman, Con Kittos also attended a Team Based Learning session with Professor Brian O’Dwyer of CognaLearn, a spinout from Duke-National University of Singapore (“Duke-NUS”) Medical School.

Con knew that this was a teaching methodology that would benefit our learners. Through our agreement with CognaLearn in the Australian employability skills market, we have since implemented this software into the teaching practice at AETS (Australian Employment and Training Solutions).

Our Executive Director - Skills Emma Crichton and National Quality and Compliance Manager Sharon Phayer then travelled to Singapore in 2018 to work with Brian and the CognaLearn team to co-design the curriculum to suit the Australian labour market needs and unique jobseeker cohort, making this employability skills training truly unique and innovative.

“The students are able to demonstrate understanding of concepts and application of the learning immediately, which is the most powerful and satisfying achievement for any trainer,” says Sharon.

Team Based Learning (TBL) is a teaching methodology used since the 1970s. It is a structured form of small-group learning that enhances student engagement and the quality of student learning. It was originally developed for use in academic settings such as medical schools, but can be used in any learning context.

TBL incorporates the following elements:

1) Pre-reading or pre-module lecture

2) Online Individual Readiness Assurance Test (IRAT) – short basic multiple choice test based on the pre-learning materials undertaken individually

3) Online Team Readiness Assurance Test (TRAT) with immediate feedback – this is a repeat of the previous test, but completed in teams where they must come to consensus on their team answers and using software which provides immediate feedback to teams

4) Clarifications – a trained facilitator will clarify any troublespots by focusing on any areas from the instant results which show confusion or doubt in the learning

5) Application exercises – practical problem solving exercises to apply and consolidate the learning from the theory.

PeoplePlus has enhanced the power of TBL through the use of a software program developed by CognaLearn and Duke-NUS. The platform allows for TBL to be facilitated online using digital devices instead of pen and paper in the classroom.

This technical revolution has transformed our Digital Literacy class and job seeking programs into dynamic, student-led learning experiences during which students are not only interacting in teams, but also using a variety of digital devices to undertake the tasks including iPads, laptops, smart phones and notebooks.

A fantastic example of TBL is Career Transition Assistance, which is a pilot program we are currently delivering on behalf of the Department of Jobs and Small Business in Ballarat and Adelaide South for mature aged job seekers, which has received glowing feedback from our students.

“After a period of 20 months being unemployed I was informed of this pilot program being run by AETS. The program has had such a positive impact on my current situation.

“Team based learning has been a new learning experience for me and a learning method that not only embedded the content much quicker than other ways I’ve learnt in the past, but I also have a much greater digital ability than I did previous,” says a past AETS CTA student.[mk_blockquote font_family="none"]“This technical revolution has transformed our Digital Literacy class and job seeking programs into dynamic, student-led learning experiences.”[/mk_blockquote]And what has been our review of Team Based Learning to date?

“When this learning methodology is teamed with first class employability skills content, the impact on the learners confidence and ability to market themselves to employers is dramatically improved,” says National Quality and Compliance Manager, Sharon Phayer.

“I have been working and delivering employability skills to jobseekers for over 20 years and this is easily the most sophisticated and enjoyable training program I’ve been involved with,” says Executive Director - Skills Emma Crichton.

Further Information

To learn more about our services for Skills & Training, contact our team at AETS today on 1800 872 297 or email to info@aets.edu.au and a member of our team will be in touch.

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