A learner centred approach to developing team skills through web-based learning and assessment
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Communications and Multimedia
In traditional face–to–face classrooms, collaborative learning has been endorsed as an effective pedagogy that fosters skills of analysis, communication and higher order thinking. Increasingly, as online learning environments for tertiary learners make use of course support systems, there is greater recognition of the potential of communications technologies to foster dialogue, networking and team skills among learners. Such skills are now among the recognised core attributes that graduates are expected to develop. In face–to–face classroom students learn the skills of collaboration and teamwork by engaging in tasks defined and supervised by a teacher. In online environments teacher presence is often limited to task definition, management and feedback functions. Team skills and collaboration therefore need to be supported though different pedagogies and processes such as establishing a climate of trust and openness, communication protocols, resolution of conflict and group processes that provide sanctions and support. In this paper we describe an innovative approach to building the skills of decision–making and conflict resolution, leadership and clarity in goal setting and communication. A case study of tertiary learners illustrates how the essential aspects of task definition, resources to support group learning and integrated online assessment foster team skills.