Educators face an increasingly difficult task in preparing students for today’s information technology and/or information systems (IT/IS) jobs. The foundation must ensure that students master solitary tasks such as programming and logical design. However, the reality of IT/IS jobs requires that students must also be prepared to deal with increasingly complex design projects and work in teams made up of peers who come from many different business disciplines and bring the requirements of multiple organizational functions. As a result, IT/IS educators must design their courses to give students experience working in teams and on problems that reflect the complexity of the business environments in which they will be employed.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Cooperative Learning: A teaching strategy in which small 2-4 member (and usually temporary) groups with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject.
Effective Team Assignment: Assignments that truly require group interaction because they cannot be divided up and completed by individual members working alone. In most cases, team assignments will generate a high level of interaction if they 1) require teams to use course concepts to make decisions that involve a complex set of issues and, 2) enable teams to report their decisions in a simple form. When assignments emphasize making decisions, intragroup discussion is the natural and rational way to complete the task.
Team-Based Learning (TBL): An instructional strategy that is designed to (a) support the development of high performance learning teams and (b) provide opportunities for these teams to engage in significant learning tasks.
Learning Teams: Student learning teams are distinctly different from learning groups. Characteristics of teams vs. groups: 1) as the students begin to trust each other and develop a commitment to the goals and welfare of the group, they become a team, 2) when they become a cohesive team, the team can do things that neither a single individual nor a newly-formed group can do, and 3) team-based learning starts with groups and then creates the conditions that enable them to become teams.
Small Group Learning: Classroom method of promoting more active and effective learning through students interacting in groups of no more than 5-7 students.
Performance Feedback: In team-based tearning, performance feedback is immediate, frequent, and discriminatory (i.e., enables learners to clearly distinguish between good and bad choices, and effective and ineffective strategies, etc.).