Thursday, May 21, 2009

Team learning

Team learning is an educational method that strives to increase student engagement. The following principles guide the formation of the teams of learners:

  1. Groups Must Be Properly Formed and Managed. Team size should be 5-7 members with even distribution of member characteristics across groups.
  2. Students Must be Made Accountable. "Students must be accountable for (a) individually preparing for group work, (b) devoting time and effort to completing group assignments, and (c) interacting with each other in productive ways."
  3. Team Assignments Must Promote Both Learning and Team Development. According to Michaelsen, "most of the reported “problems” with learning groups (free-riders, member conflict, etc.) are the direct result of inappropriate group assignments". Michaelsen adds that "assignments that require groups to make decisions and enable them to report their decisions in a simple form, will usually generate high levels of group interaction."
  4. Students Must Receive Frequent and Immediate Feedback

Assignments are characterized by:

  1. Same problem, case, or question
  2. Making a specific choice
  3. Simultaneously reporting of group responses.
Controlled studies of initial implementations of team learning have shown increases in student engagement and mixed results for other outcomes.

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