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  • ALP Guide to Collaborative Learning Teams:

    Forming and maintaining healthy groups

    © Copyright 2008 by Medaille College

    1 Revised: September 2015, January 2016

  • Independent thinking alone is not suited to interdependent reality. Independent people who do not have the maturity to think and act interdependently may be good individual producers, but they won’t be good leaders or team players. They’re not coming from the paradigm of interdependence necessary to succeed in marriage, family, or organization reality.

    Stephen R. Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People

    2 Revised: September 2015, January 2016

  • Contents

    Why collaborative learning? ................................................................................................... 4

    Cultivating Successes: Team Formation ............................................................................ 8 1. On-ground Learning Team Formation ................................................................. 10 2. Online Learning Team Formation .......................................................................... 21 3. Stages of Team Development ................................................................................ 22 4. Team Constitution or MOU ................................................................................... 23 5. Developing Successful Habits ............................................................................... 30

    Learning to Fly:Team Roles and Responsibilities ............................................................ 32 1. Leadership .............................................................................................................. 34 2. Team Meeting Roles .............................................................................................. 36 3. Teamwork Terms and Concepts ............................................................................ 38 4. Brainstorming Rules .............................................................................................. 40 5. Maintaining Standards: Learning Teams and Academic Quality .......................... 42 6. Positive Group Behaviors ...................................................................................... 44 7. Positive Individual Behaviors ................................................................................ 45

    Making Pearls: Managing conflict and change ................................................................ 47 1. Conflict Management Techniques ......................................................................... 49 2. Non-threatening Discussion Techniques ............................................................... 52 3. Predictable Teamwork Problems ........................................................................... 53 4. Worst Practices ...................................................................................................... 54 5. Managing Team Changes....................................................................................... 56

    References ......................................................................................................................... 59 Learning Team Forms ....................................................................................................... 60

    Learning Team Record ................................................................................................... 1 Learning Team Evaluation Form .................................................................................... 1 Learning Team Intervention Record ............................................................................... 2 Administrator Intervention Record ................................................................................. 3 New Team Member Checklist and Review .................................................................... 4

    3 Revised: September 2015, January 2016

  • Why collaborative learning?

    It’s simple. Today’s businesses work in teams. So do we. Medaille College is committed to developing teamwork and interpersonal skills in our adult and graduate students. The type, scope, and methodology of your collaborative learning activities will vary from program to program. Adult and graduate students in evening programs students use formal learning to complement required in-class time; students in online programs use collaboration to establish virtual networks and increase student engagement; Fast Forward students engage in collaborative activities that enhance learning and mirror workplace teams. Learning teams provide a support network, but they play other important roles as well: they optimize the learning process and develop communication skills that are highly desirable in today’s marketplace. The American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), with the assistance of the U.S. Department of Labor, surveyed Fortune 500 firms to determine those skills that employers look for most often. The results:

    1. Teamwork 2. Problem solving 3. Interpersonal skills 4. Oral communication 5. Listening 6. Creative thinking 7. Leadership 8. Writing 9. Computation 10. Reading

    Collaborative learning develops proficiency at the first seven skills on this list. Team members learn to listen to one another, solve problems, communicate clearly, develop creative solutions, and resolve conflicts. Becoming adept at these skills will

    4 Revised: September 2015, January 2016

  • provide benefits beyond the classroom; refining your group skills prepares you for today’s business and leadership challenges.

    Learning teams:

    Part of how you learn… Part of what you learn.

    Because workplace teams and groups are so important to employers today, learning to work in teams is part of your curriculum in many of the adult and graduate programs at Medaille. Developing team skills is an educational goal in every one of your classes. Yes, you will be learning math, writing, finance, or strategy. However, while you are studying statistics, you are also improving your knowledge of team problem solving, communication, and conflict resolution. The weekly challenges that your team faces and surmounts together are developing your interpersonal skills; by the end of the class, you have not only learned about regression and analysis, but also about reflective listening, non-aggressive communication, and celebrating successes. Thus, learning to work in teams is both what you learn and how you learn. Teams and groups also function as a support and networking mechanism for students, enhancing the learning process through collaboration.

    5 Revised: September 2015, January 2016

  • Collaborative Learning If you really want to understand something, try teaching it to someone else.

    Most people know that collaborative learning is a highly efficient way to learn and that working in teams develops interpersonal skills. Some other interesting points about collaborative learning teams:

    ● In adult and graduate evening programs, half of your required learning time will occur in your team meetings.

    ● Using virtual teams is one of the best practices identified for high-quality online programs.

    ● Learning teams may meet face to face, online, or by conference call. For students in

    online programs, teams are generally asynchronous, but may wish to establish a regular chat time. Teams are welcome to experiment with new and exciting communication technologies. However, participation in all weekly sessions is mandatory for all group members.

    ● On-ground learning teams choose their own time, place, and method for meeting. ● Team activities will account for a significant portion of your grade.

    ● Learning teams for the adult and graduate evening programs must be comprised of

    three to five members and must meet for four hours every week.

    ● Adult and graduate evening students generally create their own learning teams; online and Fast Forward teams will change from course to course and are established by the instructor.

    ● Teams are encouraged to re-form periodically. Learning teams in cohorted

    programs may stay together for the length of the program, but doing so is NOT required or recommended.

    ● Learning teams who need guidance may find it in Student Services.

    ● There is no difference between a learning team or a study group. Both terms are

    used interchangeably.

    6 Revised: September 2015, January 2016

  • Learning Team Benefits: Developing strong team skills can significantly benefit your educational process. Some of the benefits include:

    ● Understanding and appreciating the value of teamwork. Employers consistently list teamwork proficiency as one of the most desirable skills in an employee.

    ● Attaining a higher level of quality and performance in class. As two heads may be better than one, so a group of three or four can significantly impact your level of performance. By combining your knowledge and experience, your group will find class concepts easier to manage, course projects more enlightening, and high educational standards more achievable.

    ● Sharing the teaching and learning responsibilities. Not everyone will be adept in the same courses. In some courses you will teach your group members; in others they will teach you. Teaching others helps