pexels-fiona-art-4931375-2.jpg

As knowledge today is changing rapidly the ability to see, and make connections in the vast amount of new knowledge is crucial. Also, with a massive amount of knowledge a crucial skill today is to rapidly evaluate whether something is worth knowing or not (Siemens, 2004)

Siemens (2004) argues that technology has changed our societies and lives and also our way of learning that we in fact need a new theory of learning. A learning theory that is tuned in with our changed society.

Learning and connecting could perhaps be pictured as a kaleidoscope, small, small individual pieces move around to form a new wonderful pattern. Shaken and stirred, they form, once again, a new beautiful pattern. From the chaos of the abundant amount of information, through collaboration, we form new patterns of knowledge.

But collaboration isn´t something that happens without effort. A good collaborative enviroment needs work to be established and efforts to tend to it to survive. (Jeff Utecht, Doreen Keller)

During this topic our group were inspired to talk about teamwork and how to build teams that perform well together. In my own teaching this is a crucial element since a lot of learning is designed to be done through work in smaller groups.

The Tuckman model distinguishes five stages in the process; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.

It is easy to see that all teams go through some kind of evolvement through phases as described in the Tuckman model. As a team-leader, or educator, knowing these basic principles of team phases, helps in the process of supporting the team to perform. From my own experience I know that giving time and space for the team members to get to know each other is important. Luckily, I now have found ice-breakers that work online too 😊. Making a group contract in the beginning, in the forming phase, is also important. Later, when the first storming phase appears, I´ve noticed that it helps to go back to the contract and discuss it through with the team. This is an easy way to start solving any conflicts not accusing any one, just simply reminding everybody about the common rules, and perhaps adding or removing something from them. In my experience it has been a way of starting a discussion about a conflict in a more solving manner.

I´ve also noticed that presenting the Tuckman model to the team in the first meetings has also been a good thing to do. When all team members are prepared of the inevitable bumps in the process they seem easier to overcome.

I have been part of some really wonderful processes where learning communities have reached the phase where they as a whole produce more learning than the sum of the individuals. I think that the kaleidoscope image could work also for the team, watching a team evolve from the first forming phase to the last two, performing and adjourning, is like watching a new beautiful image coming through in my kaleidoscope.

“Quality learning environments include opportunities for students to engage in interactive and collaborative activities with their peers; such environments have been shown to contribute to better learning outcomes, including development of higher order thinking skills.”

(Jane E. Brindley and Christine Walti, Lisa M. Blaschke, 2009)

Brindley, J.E,  Walti, C.,  Blaschke, L.M., 2009, Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment. Retrieved from: View of Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment | The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (irrodl.org)

Siemens G. (2005), Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. In: West, R. (red.), Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology. PBPressbooks. Retrieved from: Connectivism – Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology (pressbooks.com)

Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development – West Chester University (wcupa.edu)

Connecitivism and teams as learning communities