Team formation by region to improve outcomes for distance-education students in a PBL course

Wandel, Andrew P. (2011) Team formation by region to improve outcomes for distance-education students in a PBL course. In: FIE 2011: Celebrating 41 Years of Monumental Innovations From Around the World , 12-15 Oct 2011, Rapid City, SD. United States.


Because they are not able to meet face-to-face, distance education students find it more difficult to develop team-working skills: an important graduate attribute. In an effort to improve the development of this skill, (where possible) teams in a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) course were formed so that students were located in the same city or region. The expectation was that by being close together, the students would be able to communicate with each other more easily, thereby overcoming a barrier to performance. The results of a student survey show that they thought that their team’s cohesion and performance were improved by being close together. All those whose team’s performance was perceived to be improved wished to have the same opportunity to be close together in the future; many whose team’s performance was not improved similarly wanted to work close together in the future. Analysis of the students’ grades shows strong statistical significance that those students who were not geographically close to their teammates had lower grades on average. Efforts should be made to form teams relatively close geographically so that the ease of interaction leads to stronger interpersonal bonds, thereby improving the performance levels of the teams.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy. © 2011 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from IEEE.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2012 01:46
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2015 05:09
Uncontrolled Keywords: distance education; group work; team location; team performance; PBL course; distance-education student; interpersonal bond; problem-based learning; student grade; student survey; team cohesion; team formation; higher education research
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130103 Higher Education
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
09 Engineering > 0915 Interdisciplinary Engineering > 091599 Interdisciplinary Engineering not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1109/FIE.2011.6142727

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