Impact of tailoring Team-based learning (“TBL”) train-the-trainer workshops from academic to training environments

Brian O ’Dwyer, Commercial Founder and Executive Chairman, CognaLearn


Dr Sandy Cook, Professor and Senior Associate Dean, DukeNUS



Duke-NUS routinely offers training programs on TBL. The audience is usually university educators across many disciplines. Given the diversity of the audiences, the materials used are more generic. In 2016, the Public Utilities Board (PUB) in Singapore requested Duke-NUS to teach their trainers to use TBL to train employees in project management.

Later the Australian Employment Training Solutions (“AETC”) asked to teach trainers develop TBL modules to provide employability skills training to disadvantaged youth using TBL. The question was would the training be more effective if the more TBL training material was tailored specifically to the audience requesting the training?


Average IRAT, TRAT scores and “recommend course” from programs were compared. There were 28 trainers from PUB and 20 trainers from AETC. The PUB program was 2 A? days with 4 workshops covering the fundamentals of TBL and A? day reviewing their efforts at converting modules into TBL. There were 3 RA tests with 27 questions. AETC program was 2 days, 6 workshops, with 5 RA tests and 34 questions.


The overall recommendation rate for the AETC workshop was 100% compared to 92% for the PUB workshop. The average IRAT scores for AETC and PUB were 60% and 61% and TRAT scores for both groups were 82%.


While not statistically different due to the small size, clearly more specifically tailored version appealed to all the participants AETC. There was no difference in the RAT performances suggesting relatively equal levels of difficulty in the two versions. The challenge for TBL trainers is the time and effort required to customize each training program to the specific audience. It will also be important to follow-up with the two groups to see the success and impact of the TBL programs that they each develop.

Teach with the World ’s Number One Team-Based Learning (“TBL”) platform today.