Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Team-Based, Collaborative Learning

Is learning an individual effort? A group effort? A team effort? Or should learning be individualized or collaborative? We know that Chickering and Gamson (1987) stated that learning “is collaborative and social, not competitive and isolated” (p. 4). Are we, as educators, supportive of collaborative, social learning? The art, or practice, or vocation of learning, if it is truly representative of the “real” world, focuses on developing the group skills, the team-based approach to problem solving rather than the lone worker.

We do “feel” better when we have the opportunity to share our learning efforts with others. Imagine the perspectives that we can experience when we work (or learn) with others. “Learning is enhanced when it is more like a team effort than a solo race” (Chickering and Gamson, 1987, p. 4).

The globalization mentioned by Friedman (2006) may be the reason that education needs to focus on collaborative learning. The world is changing, right before our eyes. People are working on a problem from multiple perspectives, various locations, and with different resources. This “team” is tasked with solving a problem. The team is assembled. Members with different skills, backgrounds, perspectives, and expectations are selected based on the task, or problem. The team then sets their rules … who does what, coordinates activities.

Isn’t this paradigm similar to a learning community? Isn’t this an example of collaboration? Of team-based learning?



Chickering, A., & Gamson, Z. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association for Higher Education Bulletin 39(7), 3-7.

Friedman, T. (2006). The world is flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For more information on Collaborative learning, Team buiding and Leadership, I came across an excellent book, by Ken Thompson, "Bioteams: High Performance Teams Based on Nature's Most Successful Designs."
www.mkpress.com/bioteams

Also, Ken Thompson's Companion Book
The Networked Enterprise:
Competing for the Future Through Virtual Enterprise Networks
www.mkpress.com/TNE

Check them out...

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