Collaborative Team Learning in Information Systems

flickr.com/photos/trucolorsfly/1732302968/ (cc 3.0)

flickr.com/photos/trucolorsfly/1732302968/ (cc 3.0)

Research Question: Can the team learning pedagogy effectively develop technical knowledge and team skills?

Abstract: Business schools must learn how to deliver graduates who are capable team players, particularly in the field of information systems where IS personnel are frequently cited as lacking in interpersonal and teams skills, and where information technology work is increasingly structured around team-based projects.  We report here on the effectiveness of a collaborative pedagogical approach called team learning, which was used in a database management systems course.  The team learning methodology requires students and their team mates to bear sole responsibility for learning in teams, with the Professor acting as a “Guide on the Side” [16].  Using an experimental design, this study demonstrates that teams consistently outperformed individuals, that critical team skills improved over time, and that important team skills were positively associated with team performance.

Model:

Findings: Team learning pedagogy resulted in increased team skills, as assessed by peers. It enables high performance teams (teams scored higher than the top-performing individual 95% of the time). Task and maintenance-oriented team skills predicted team performance, oer and above individual competence.

Implications: (1) The positive effects of the team learning pedagogy (skill development, improved performance) argue for its adoption over individualistic approaches. (2) Team competencies may just as important as technical competencies for IT personnel, who frequently work in teams. Corporate team-based training is starting to appear (e.g., 3M’s Dream Team workshop).

Citation: Neufeld, D.J. & Haggerty, N. (2001). Collaborative team learning in information systems: A pedagogy for developing team skills and high performance. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 42(1), pp. 37-43. [link]