Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Agricultural Education and Studies


Agricultural Education

First Advisor

Thomas H. Paulsen

Second Advisor

Ryan G. Anderson


The purpose of this dissertation was to describe the effectiveness of Team-Based Learning (TBL) in an undergraduate capstone course within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. The effectiveness of TBL was measured in three ways, as outlined in the objectives for this study. The objectives were to: (1) Describe student perceptions regarding their beliefs and attitudes about learning, motivation to learn, and professional development through critical thinking; (2) Examine student engagement in a TBL formatted course via student reported frequency of engagement activities compared to instructor-rated importance of engagement activities; (3) Explore the impact a semester-long, TBL formatted capstone farm management course had on the growth and development of student social networks. For objective one, students completed a pre- and post-test regarding their experience in learning in groups, motivation to learn, and their development of skills relating to critical thinking. Objective two utilized a classroom-level engagement instrument to determine synergy or discord between student participation in–and instructor-rated value– of specific engagement activities. Objective three utilized a sociometric survey to determine collaboration networks among students in a TBL formatted course. Results from objective one indicated a positive increase across all three learning domains. Students felt that working in teams was a valuable way to spend class time and that being part of a team aided in their overall course performance. Perceived gains were also indicated on students’ problem solving abilities as well as their ability to analyze and synthesize relevant information from course content. For objective two, the results indicated that the TBL-formatted capstone course engaged students at high levels. Students worked collaboratively to solve practical problems, utilized technology to complete assignments, and felt the classroom atmosphere was conducive for learning. Student collaboration networks were analyzed to address objective three. Results determined that the collaboration networks among students are dynamic. The network was a cohesive and inclusive structure involving every student throughout both semesters. From this assessment, TBL can be considered an effective teaching method that promotes active learning, application of content, communication, problem solving, and decision making. The adoption of TBL in other courses across the agricultural education discipline can assist educators as they strive to ensure meaningful and engaging learning environments are created for all students.


Copyright Owner

Op Mccubbins



File Format


File Size

297 pages