Identifying Keys to Success in Innovative Teaching: Student Engagement and Instructional Practices as Predictors of Student Learning in a Course Using a Team-Based Learning Approach

Rosa M. Alvarez-Bell, Derrick Wirtz, Hui Bian


When implementing innovative teaching techniques, instructors often seek to gauge the success of their methods. Proposing one approach to assessing classroom innovation, this study examines the ability of students’ ratings of engagement and instructional practices to predict their learning in a cooperative (team-based) framework. After identifying the factor structures underlying measures of student engagement and instructional practices, these factors were used as predictors of self-reported student learning in a general chemistry course delivered using a team-based learning approach. Exploratory factor analyses showed a four-factor structure of engagement: teamwork involvement, investment in the learning process, feelings about team-based learning, level of academic challenge; and a three-factor structure of instructional practices: instructional guidance, fostering self-directed learning skills, and cognitive level. Multiple linear regression revealed that feelings about team-based learning and perceptions of instructional guidance had significant effects on learning, beyond other predictors, while controlling gender, GPA, class level, number of credit hours, whether students began college at their current institution, expected highest level of education, racial or ethnic identification, and parental level of education. These results yield insight into student perceptions about team-based learning, and how to measure learning in a team-based learning framework, with implications for how to evaluate innovative instructional methods.


Student Engagement; Student Learning; Team-Based Learning; General Chemistry; Predictors of Learning Outcomes

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