The efficient classroom: How team-based learning and lecture video acceleration affect the learning efficiency and effectiveness of a first-year engineering course

Benjamin Paul Jacobson, Iowa State University


This paper researches the impact of the team-based learning (TBL) pedagogy and video lecture viewing strategies on an introductory engineering course, in terms of student performance and preference. Teaching an introductory engineering course is a complex task because the students vary greatly in ability and experience. As the demand for engineers grows, emphases are placed on introductory courses to effectively and efficiently educate the engineering student to prepare them for their future engineering coursework and career. TBL, especially with the use of video lectures, has shown promise as an education tool for a broad variety of students, but more research is needed. This paper describes three studies that provide more insight into whether the TBL pedagogy with video lectures is sufficient to provide the flexibility, performance, and preferential environment needed for introductory engineering classes.

The first study compares two semesters of the TBL pedagogy to two semesters of a traditional course in a first-year Industrial Engineering course. This comparison showed that students perform equivalently in both pedagogies, but there is a strong preference for the TBL classroom and evidence that TBL provides a more engaging and interactive environment. The second study surveyed both first-year engineering students and the general university student population to understand the lecture video viewing habits of students. The study showed that approximately 45% of students accelerate video lectures to 1.25X or 1.5X normal speed and another 45% of students watch them at normal speed. Less than 10% of students watch videos faster than 2X normal speed. The third study investigated the trade-off between video acceleration and video comprehension and how practice watching accelerated videos impacts that trade-off. The results show that video acceleration up to 2X normal speed may be warranted if full comprehension of the video is not required and time is a priority. Together, these three studies show that the TBL classroom has the ability to provide a more efficient learning environment that students prefer.