Team-Based Learning in an Art and Design First-Year Studio Class


  • Migiwa Spiller Pratt Institute



team-based learning, student-centered discussions, classroom community, art and design education, studio learning, learning in the first year


This case study conducted in a first-year Foundation studio course analyzes the effectiveness of using Team-Based Learning (TBL) strategies in an art and design context. Each studio class is composed of a wide and disparate range of learning levels that are dependent on factors such as cultural background, motivation, ability and/or disability, and diverse chosen majors with different background knowledge. Therefore, differentiated instruction must be built into each class, where student-centered group discussions are key to learning course content from different perspectives. Conducting research, with the support of Faculty Learning Communities focusing on teaching first-year students and inclusive pedagogy, initiated the insertion of both TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and TBL methods as a solution to those challenges. The study examines how TBL in a beginning art and design studio course promotes student engagement, active learning, and a clearer understanding of course content through student-centered discussions. The study argues that by creating consistent student teams, some of the unique challenges of learning in the first year, such as social isolation in a new environment or difficulty tackling unfamiliar content, can be solved. Establishing learning communities in the studio classroom through teamwork not only reflected an increase in overall attendance but social and academic growth. This study contributes an art and design studio-learning perspective to the research on Team-Based Learning, which has focused predominantly on TBL teaching approaches in business, health, and the social sciences.