TBL in a Language module

Stephanie Dimond-Bayir, Arts Law and Social Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University

The active collaborative learning for student success project ran from March 2017 – February 2019 and has now concluded. This website serves as a historic legacy and is no longer regularly updated.

Why we took this approach:

This technical linguistics module had previously performed less effectively than others in terms of final test outcomes and student satisfaction.  We took this approach to:

  • engender greater student engagement and practical application of theory both pre-course and in-class
  • develop peer learning opportunities
  • develop soft skills (collaboration/critical thinking & analysis/negotiation skills)
  • facilitate more effective learning oriented assessment


What we did:

We combined standard TBL approaches with communicative teaching methodologies including self-assessment tools and peer assessment elements. We compared final summative assessment scores with the previous cohort who had only used limited test elements of TBL. We also compared the results, both quantitative and qualitative, of module evaluation feedback.  The tutor delivering the later module was experienced in the methodologies used.


The challenges we faced:

We quickly discovered from student feedback that it was important to include extension activities so that stronger students were not waiting while others completed tests.  We also learnt to apply specific time limitations for iRATs- there was concern that these took too much time on occasion- probably because initially we didn’t provide tight enough time limitations. Tutor delivery was key – each practical activity had clearly defined outcomes to ensure that students understood their purpose.


Feedback and reflections

  • There was a 36% performance improvement between iRATs and tRATs.
  • Overall final results saw a 37% increase in higher grades (reliability and validity of test papers was checked)
  • The module received a significantly higher overall satisfaction rate in module evaluation (99%). Students said:

Activities enabled everyone to learn better.

It’s interesting and stimulating.

Highly effective.

Interactive learning with group work, games and activities is fun and it’s easy to memorise what we have learnt.

I definitely learned a lot of stuff that I think will be useful in and out of university. 

Learn more about Active Collaborative Learning by getting in touch today.