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A framework for managing learning teams in engineering

Version 2 2024-06-02, 13:29
Version 1 2015-11-26, 15:38
conference contribution
posted on 2024-06-02, 13:29 authored by KP Nepal, AJ Li
BACKGROUND: Team learning is an integral part of engineering education today and teamwork knowledge, teamwork skills and teamwork product have been included as one of the major components of engineering graduate outcomes in undergraduate engineering course/program curriculum. In spite of enormous research advances in theoretical aspects of learning and working in teams, anecdotal evidence suggests that most engineering academic staff are inundated by student complaints of not being able to work in a learning team due to numerous reasons. In addition to student complaints, most engineering academic staff are non-expert in team learning theories and methodologies and hence are unsure of specific learning outcomes of a teamwork, approaches to achieve those learning outcomes, suitability of team learning in a particular unit/subject, planning required for implementing teamwork, implementation and monitoring teamwork and teamwork reflection. Too often engineering academic staff include teamwork, yet without adequate preparation and with little understanding about how to use their time to achieve the greatest gains for themselves or for their students. Hence, there is a clear need for a framework for managing learning teams in engineering units. PURPOSE OR GOAL: This study develops a framework for managing learning teams in engineering units through extensive review of existing literature and anecdotal practices. The focus is to provide step-by-step procedure so that the problems of team learning in engineering can be reduced. Depending upon the time and resources available to academic staff, the framework would help to choose an optimal path and associated strategies. APPROACH: This study uses evidence-based literature knowledge to develop a framework that help to manage engineering students’ learning teams. The literature information are discussed in reference to anecdotal practices from undergraduate engineering classrooms. DISCUSSION: The literature review suggests that for better management of learning teams, engineering academic staff need to focus on specifying learning outcomes of a teamwork, identifying appropriate approaches to achieve these learning outcomes, judging the suitability of team learning in a particular learning context, developing a clear plan for implementing teamwork, implementing and monitoring teamwork and reflecting and re-evaluating teamwork. Elaborated discussions regarding these issues can help academic staff to manage learning teams effectively and efficiently. RECOMMENDATIONS/IMPLICATIONS/CONCLUSION: Depending upon the availability of time and resources and the suitability of a particular educational context, managing engineering learning teams can be both simple as well as complex. The developed framework may assist engineering academic staff to manage teamwork in their engineering units. For further research, the framework need to implemented, monitored, evaluated and revised.






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Publication classification

E Conference publication, E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2015, AAEE


Oo A, Patil A, Hilditch T, Chandrasekaran S

Title of proceedings

AAEE 2015 : Blended design and project based learning. Proceedings of the 26th Australasian Association for Engineering Education Conference


Australasian Association for Engineering Education. Conference (26th : 2015 : Geelong, Vic.)



Place of publication

Geelong, Vic.

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