WesternU E-Learning

Online Training for Faculty and Staff

In the TBL classroom, the bulk of class time is spent having teams solve, report and discuss solutions to specific problems. Structuring the problems using the 4S framework will allow you to leverage the power of team dynamic.


Read pages 288-295 “Principles of Task Design: Elaboration on Michaelsen’s 4 S’s” below:


The 4S’ include:

1) Significant Problem

The problem must capture the interest and be relevant to the students.

2) Same Problem

Each student group must receive the same problem. This will allow students to compare results during disclosure.

3) Specific Choice

Teams must select the answer from a limited list of possibilities.

4) Simultaneously Report

Student groups must report their answer simultaneously at the same time. Typically this is done with colored cards raised by each team. This allows for rich discussion and debate while teams explain how they arrived at their final decision.