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University teacher team learning in the context of innovation

Description project

Until recently, teaching in higher education has mainly been an autonomous and individual task. However, due to shifts towards more interdisciplinary project- and problem-based education, teachers nowadays have to collaborate in teams to design and teach new forms of education. In order to succesfully execute team tasks, we know that engaging in team learning is necessary. Team learning consists of interactional processes by means of which teams build a shared mental model of their tasks and how to execute them. In this project, we investigate how intra-team learning (processes within the team) and inter-team learning (processes between the team and external parties) help teachers at the University of Twente in designing a coherent 15 ECTS course. More specifically, our research questions are directed at unraveling the nature of the intra-team learning processes knowledge sharing, co-construction, and constructive conflict, and the inter-team learning processes information seeking and feedback asking. We examine the degree to which it is beneficial to engage in both intra- and inter-team learning, how input retrieved by means of inter-team learning is used in intra-team discussions, and whether this leads to actual decisions. The project consists of both a large-scale quantitative survey study among over 100 teacher teams, and an intensive mixed methods study in which we followed 10 teacher teams during their (re)design process. We work with a variety of techniques for data analysis, such as structural equation modelling and machine learning by means of text mining.

Expected outcomes

This project aims to provide a deeper insight in the nature of team learning, e.g. by revealing interaction patterns beneath different team learning processes. With this information, specific processes can be recognized and stimulated during team conversations, in order to help teams reach quality decisions. By investigating how within-team conversation leads to actual decisions, and how communicating with external parties can help in this respect, we will provide guidelines for effective team learning. As university teacher teams are an upcoming phenomenom, it is an interesting context for validating existing knowledge of team learning, and to provide universities with tools for supporting their teachers to collaborate effectively in teaching.


Rike Bron
Maaike Endedijk - contact person
Bernard Veldkamp - OMD department

Duration of the project

March 2013 - December 2019

Funding and partners

This project is funded by the 4TU center for engineering education (4TU.CEE).

project website

Not applicable

Publications related to this project