Teaming up for learning: Team Effectiveness in Collaborative Learning in Higher Education

Jos Fransen

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisThesis 2: defended at OU & OU (co)supervisor, external graduate

    101 Downloads (Pure)


    Collaborative learning is an often used pedagogical approach for achieving goals such as knowledge construction, product development and teamwork skills acquisition. In such cases, team effectiveness is conditional for both team performance and learning quality which in turn requires the learning-team to develop from a group of individual students into a functioning team. Since students often have little to say about team composition and learning task, and only collaborate for restricted periods of time on collaborative assignments, learning-teams in higher education are often not effective. To remedy this, we need to determine and understand the variables that influence learning-team effectiveness; the main goal of this research. Based on work-team effectiveness models, a conceptual framework was developed with key variables mediating learning-team effectiveness in either face-to-face or online settings within the perspective of learning-team evolution and maturation. Core aspects of the framework were validated for use in future experiments on influencing learning-team effectiveness. The developmental character of this framework was investigated in a number of case studies and cross-case analyses to explore the relations between learning-team characteristics, learning-team development, and the variables in the framework which were found to mediate learning-team effectiveness. Additionally, the perceived effects of tutor interventions on learning-team maturation and effectiveness were explored. The research resulted in a deeper understanding of learning-team development and maturation, more specifically the importance of developing task-related and team-related mental models as a prerequisite for team functioning, and offers guidelines for effectively organizing, supporting and assessing collaborative learning in higher education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Open Universiteit: faculties and services
    • Kirschner, Paul, Supervisor
    • Erkens, Gijsbert, Co-supervisor, External person
    Thesis sponsors
    Award date16 Nov 2012
    Electronic ISBNs 978-90-79061-02-0
    Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2012


    • collaborative learning
    • higher education
    • team effectiveness
    • team development


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