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This week we will all be put into teams to work on the simulation, MikesBikes. After a quick scan through the to-do list it dawned on me that we will not be having any more lectures, instead we will have “team-time.” I don’t know whether to be super pleased or super nervous. Not having lectures is foreign to me, as I’m sure it will be for many others.

I honestly enjoy lectures, as long as the topic interests me I am quite happy to sit there, listen and take notes. I think it works for me and I learn this way. So naturally I’m feeling nervous about the lack of lectures in this paper. I have no past experiences with this type of structure, since primary school I have been writing down what the teacher says. Now I am beginning to wonder if that was actually the best way to learn.

According to research, students who are taught in small groups rather than a traditional context achieve higher grades (Oakley, Felder, Brent & Elhaji, 2004). There are many benefits to small learning groups, one that appeals to me would be gaining teamwork skills which we can then apply in different environments after university. This will be an extremely helpful skill to have. Hopefully working in teams allows opportunities to gain insight on concepts in the readings that I would be unsure about. Teaching others is the best way to learn ourselves (Edwards, as cited in Oakley et al, 2004)  so hopefully we can all explain certain aspects of the paper to each other to benefit from this idea.

Keeping this research in mind, my original doubts have somewhat decreased. Having met my team today we seem like we are all keen for the semester ahead. Hopefully we are able to function well together so that this learning experience will be superior to individual learning (Oakley, 2004). We will all eventually have to work in teams so why not start learning this way now? One thing is for sure, this will be an interesting semester.

 

Reference

Oakley, B., Felder, R. M., Brent, R., & Elhajj, I. (2004). Turning student groups into effective teams. Journal of student centered learning, 2(1), 9--34.

3 Comments

  1. Rather than provide feedback on your learning journal, I'm going to make a few comments about it's content, as I think others will have been having similar thoughts. So:

    I don’t know whether to be super pleased or super nervous.

    Somewhere in between I hope.Yes, for many people this class is going to be a bit different and that may mean that your previous 'learning' strategies may not work so well (if at all). It's no longer a matter of noting what I say (and possibly feeding it back to me).

     

    Now I am beginning to wonder if that was actually the best way to learn.

    That depends on what you mean 'learn'. As I noted elsewhere, for me you have learnt something when (after some period of time) you can do something new or something better than you could beforehand (and probably in a new context). I think some people mistake storytelling (and often very cleaver storytelling) as learning. The have figured out a way of taking a text (reading or whatever) and use it to construct a good story (maybe even a critical story). But, at the end of the day, when I say some like "What does mutual accountability look like?" or "Is that behaviour consistent with mutual accountability", I will often be met with blank looks or wild guess.

     

    There are many benefits to small learning groups, one that appeals to me would be gaining teamwork skills which we can then apply in different environments after university. This will be an extremely helpful skill to have.

    You are right. When looking at adverts for jobs, the transferable skill of teamwork is often mentioned because so many people are rather ho-hum at it. So, what sort of skills do you think make up the bundle that might be called teamwork—how will you get good at them?

     

    We will all eventually have to work in teams so why not start learning this way now?

    But you've been working in teams, one way or another, for most of your life. I hope the way I've structured this course will actually allow you to learn about being better in teams rather than just getting by in a team.

     

    One thing is for sure, this will be an interesting semester.

    It will, and I hope you will find it fun too.

  2. This was a good learning journal. You reflected well on the class and backed up your reflections with examples from the readings. Structure was good and the writing flowed well. No spelling or grammar issues. In terms of improvements, consider linking your experiences and the readings of the week. For instance draw on Blooms taxonomy when explaining how you came to your state of reflection, this will make your examples even stronger, all round improving your writing.

  3. Key Kimberly,

    I like that you took the concepts we explored and experiences we had last week about the dynamics of learning in teams and reflected on them by asking the question of whether the common lecture approach to learning is the best way to learn. I appreciate your thinking as I see that as an example of really constructive reflection. Maybe we will all benefit from more regularly asking how the knowledge we acquire through this course and others can be applied to many areas of our lives, not just in academic or professional settings. I understand that one of the intended outcomes of this course is that we make improvements and adjustments to our ways of thinking and acting as a result of the new knowledge and skills we have acquired. So if it turns out that our experience from this course does in the end suggest we learn more from participatory collective practice orientated learning methods compared to sitting in lectures then we can take that knowledge forward and apply it in many future situations. Awesome that you backed up your questions/reflections with reference to theory/readings too.

    In terms of room for improvement, I get the sense that one way we have been encouraged to approach the reflection exercise is by applying some of the models we looked at in the first week. For example Daudelin’s four stage model of articulating a problem, analysing it, drawing on a theory to understand it and shape a possible path forward, then acting in a new way in light of our analysis (that's how i understand it anyway). Are there any practical outcomes from your reflection last week? Could there be any? Would it be useful to articulate such decisions or plans so that at the end of the semester you can reflect on the result of these as part of the bigger reflection exercise? 

    All the best! Jeffrey