Blending Communities and Team-Based Learning in a Programming Course

Ignacio Cabrera, Jorge Villalon, Jorge Chavez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, engineering education teachers have needed to incorporate technology-supported collaboration to enhance learning. Implementing these activities requires course redesign, which must be meticulous for their full potential to be reached. This can require a lot of work for first time users, which can be a barrier to implementation. Educational design patterns alleviate this burden by facilitating new course design with practices demonstrated to promote student engagement. This paper reports on the redesign of an introductory programming course and its experimental evaluation. The redesign was based on the community of inquiry learning framework (CoL), using design patterns from online Web communities and team-based learning (TBL). The evaluation included 562 students, 117 of them randomly assigned to two different experimental groups. One group used a CoL approach, and the other a blended TBL and CoL methodology. The remaining students were assigned to control groups. Results showed that students in the experimental groups outperformed those in the control group by the end of the semester, while the experimental CoL and TBL methodology helped students achieve a higher level of understanding in a shorter period of time due to increased participation rates. These data provide empirical evidence of the learning gains offered by online learning communities, and the way in which educational design patterns can facilitate course redesign.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7967733
Pages (from-to)288-295
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Education
Issue number4
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jul 2017


  • Blended learning
  • learning communities
  • student engagement
  • team-based learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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