Teaching Innovation Through Collaborative and Team-Based Learning

Teaching Innovation Through Collaborative and Team-Based Learning

Heather Kathleen Manion (Royal Roads University, Canada), Trish Dyck (Royal Roads University, Canada), Susan Thackeray (Royal Roads University, Canada) and Nooreen Shah-Preusser (Royal Roads University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2943-0.ch003


Higher educational institutions must radically (re)envision teaching and learning opportunities. Provision of content through learned scholars is insufficient. There is a need to curate innovative, integrative, and transformational education. This chapter explores how collaborative, team-based learning provides relevant, innovative, and generative approaches to working through real-world, urgent, complex, social, environmental and economic issues. Collaborative and team-based learning can support student citizenship, changemaking capacity, collaboration, respect for diversity, and effective practice across a range of professions. Despite the opportunities, team-based exercises pose significant challenges for students. Drawing on an action-oriented research project, this chapter discusses ways to improve processes to support students' team-related skills to further their success and student citizenship.
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Context: Learning, Teaching, And Research Model

This research was based on the experience of the community at one specific Canadian university. While this paper is framed to be applicable to a wider audience, it is important to recognize the context-specific atmosphere in which the research was developed, conducted, and analysed. Royal Roads University (RRU) is a small, special purpose public university with a mandate to support working professionals. RRU is based in Canada’s west coast city of Victoria, British Columbia. Most programs are offered at the graduate level, with most being offered in an online or blended format. Blended programs are a combination of short, intense face-to-face courses and online courses.

Another core unique element of the University is that it integrates an innovative and comprehensive Learning, Teaching, and Research Model (LTRM) that underpins all its programming (RRU, 2019). The model includes three domains: 1) applied and authentic; 2) caring and community based; and 3) transformational. Within these three domains, the following areas are included: interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary; experiential and participatory; flexible and individualised; outcomes-based; openly practiced; inclusive and diverse; learning community-based; supportive; team-based; co-creative; place and virtual space-based; socially innovative; respectful of Indigenous peoples and traditions; impactful; and reflective.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Learning, Teaching, and Research Model (LTRM): Royal Roads University has a robust Learning, Teaching, and Research Model (LTRM, 2018) that embraces team-based learning. This model focuses on providing learning, teaching, and research that help people transform careers and lives by solving problems and creating opportunities in the world. With intention, it aims to inspire ongoing engagement, creativity, dialogue and debate among the wider community.

Associate Faculty: Royal Roads University welcomes Associate Faculty as independent contractors to add their professional knowledge and practical experience in various business or academic pursuits to the university through contributions that include instruction, course/curriculum design, as well as supervision and assessment of these (Who are “Associate Faculty”, n.d.).

Innovative Team-Based Learning: Team experiences, processes, and practices that disrupt or build upon existing processes or practices for collaborative instructional approaches to enhance co-created learning. Innovative team-based learning explores new ways to approach collaborative instructional approaches or new tools that support learning communities and co-creation. The innovation may explore innovative modifications to existing practice or new approaches to learning.

Team Coach: Team coaches at Royal Roads University support, guide, and enhance the team learning experience. They offer a variety of resources, tools, and strategies to learners to encourage the development of high performing teams. In addition, team coaches work with individuals and teams to mitigate and mediate challenges that arise during the team-based learning process.

Integrative Team-Based Learning: Ways that different instructional approaches, methods, or experiences can be melded together to build effective collaborative team-based learning and knowledge co-creation.

Team-Based Learning: An instructional approach that emphasizes collaboration to encourage relevant experiences, sustain learning communities, and extend the individual and collective impact of learning and knowledge co-creation.

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