This week has been an interesting week. The topic was suddenly much easier to understand, or maybe my own learning of the topic of online network learning had been taken a few steps to the next level. But we all have experiences in collaboration and when it is working and when not.
We got an interesting point of view when discussing whether working in a group could be learned or if it is a skill you are (or aren´t ) born with. At the same time, another person was sharing a picture “a team is not a group of people working together, a team is a group of people trusting each other”.
I can see myself as a student doing group work 20 years ago, struggling of sharing the tasks and trying to find a balance so everybody should do the same amount of work. Sometimes it was working, but sometimes not. It was like a lottery rather than the skills. And that was frustrating.
Today, several years of working life experiment it feels a bit funny. How naive and unskilled we were on the group skills, or teams skills.
It was rather the personalities than the task which was stopping us to work well in a group. We did not understand each other and where rather black and white in our perspective. I am happy to notice, that team skills are definitely something you can learn and can be better. The empathy (what we did not learn in engineering education!) and the other soft skills has been playing a central role in this skills development. To listen, be curious of others perspective and ideas and take a responsibility are some of the key factors for succeeding in collaborative work.
During the last two months I have been working in two separate international teams. The teams are created by adults in working life, and there has not been any of the type of problem in teams, what we have noticed among the students (or my own experience during the time I was studying). We are more keen to listen to each other and willing to work together to solve the problem. In the second course, we were also using so called catalytic questions to help each other to find the solutions. This was a really collaborative working, where we truly helped each other to find solutions and go further. Without group work, we would not probably found the answers, at least not so fast.
In our PBL3 group we used a metaphor fotbolls team in team work to visualize that the team is working well when we have our roles adn we are not competing with each other, but rather trusting and collaborating. For the next group work with my students i will spend some more time to talk about the importance about the group working skills and help them to develop them.