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Students' learning experience in multidisciplinary project groups : Insights from a packaging development course

Molina-Besch, Katrin LU and Olsson, Annika LU (2016) LTH:s 9:e pedagogiska inspirationskonferens, 2016 In Proceedings of LTH's 9:e Pedagogiska inspirationskonferens (15/12 2016) p.26-28
Abstract
In a world where technical knowledge gets outdated in an ever increasing speed, it is important that engineering education provides students not only with broad technical competences but also with so-called soft skills such as communications skills, leadership skills and team-working skills. When it comes to team-working skills, group projects have become an inevitable part of most LTH programs. LTH students are used to work in groups and by the end of their education, it can be expected that most of them are successful team players. A complication with regard to the development of team working skills is however, that the working conditions in homogenous teams are very different to the working conditions in heterogeneous groups. While... (More)
In a world where technical knowledge gets outdated in an ever increasing speed, it is important that engineering education provides students not only with broad technical competences but also with so-called soft skills such as communications skills, leadership skills and team-working skills. When it comes to team-working skills, group projects have become an inevitable part of most LTH programs. LTH students are used to work in groups and by the end of their education, it can be expected that most of them are successful team players. A complication with regard to the development of team working skills is however, that the working conditions in homogenous teams are very different to the working conditions in heterogeneous groups. While project groups in LTH courses in most cases can be considered to be relatively homogenous, most real-life working groups such as research teams or product development teams are heterogeneous, simply because most real-life problems require a team of professionals with different competences and backgrounds.
In an attempt to prepare students for the working environment in multidisciplinary teams, the LTH course Packaging technology and development requires students to form a project group with students from several LTH programs and with different nationalities. When it comes to the results of the group projects, all involved teachers agree that in most cases group diversity has a positive impact on creativity and problem-solving in the teams. At the same time, working in multidisciplinary and multinational teams can be a difficult and frustrating experience for some students. An interesting research question is accordingly how students experience the learning environment in multidisciplinary teams over time. To answer this question, we have during the autumn term 2015 collected written student reflections about their experiences with the multidisciplinary group environment based on a written survey (70 respondents). The students handed in one reflection at the beginning of the group project when they just had formed their groups and one reflection at the end of the course when they had presented their project results. The paper presents the results of the survey data that can be valuable input for other LTH courses that work with or plan to work with multidisciplinary project groups.
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in
Proceedings of LTH's 9:e Pedagogiska inspirationskonferens (15/12 2016)
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3 pages
publisher
Lund University
conference name
LTH:s 9:e pedagogiska inspirationskonferens, 2016
language
English
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yes
id
621d7776-6968-472e-a26c-65ba9eae92a2
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http://www.lth.se/fileadmin/lth/genombrottet/konferens2016/22_Molina-Besch_Olsson.pdf
date added to LUP
2017-04-05 14:21:03
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2017-04-07 15:26:08
@inproceedings{621d7776-6968-472e-a26c-65ba9eae92a2,
  abstract     = {In a world where technical knowledge gets outdated in an ever increasing speed, it is important that engineering education provides students not only with broad technical competences but also with so-called soft skills such as communications skills, leadership skills and team-working skills. When it comes to team-working skills, group projects have become an inevitable part of most LTH programs. LTH students are used to work in groups and by the end of their education, it can be expected that most of them are successful team players. A complication with regard to the development of team working skills is however, that the working conditions in homogenous teams are very different to the working conditions in heterogeneous groups. While project groups in LTH courses in most cases can be considered to be relatively homogenous, most real-life working groups such as research teams or product development teams are heterogeneous, simply because most real-life problems require a team of professionals with different competences and backgrounds. <br/>In an attempt to prepare students for the working environment in multidisciplinary teams, the LTH course Packaging technology and development requires students to form a project group with students from several LTH programs and with different nationalities. When it comes to the results of the group projects, all involved teachers agree that in most cases group diversity has a positive impact on creativity and problem-solving in the teams. At the same time, working in multidisciplinary and multinational teams can be a difficult and frustrating experience for some students. An interesting research question is accordingly how students experience the learning environment in multidisciplinary teams over time. To answer this question, we have during the autumn term 2015 collected written student reflections about their experiences with the multidisciplinary group environment based on a written survey (70 respondents). The students handed in one reflection at the beginning of the group project when they just had formed their groups and one reflection at the end of the course when they had presented their project results. The paper presents the results of the survey data that can be valuable input for other LTH courses that work with or plan to work with multidisciplinary project groups. <br/>},
  author       = {Molina-Besch, Katrin and Olsson, Annika},
  booktitle    = {Proceedings of LTH's 9:e Pedagogiska inspirationskonferens (15/12 2016)},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  pages        = {26--28},
  publisher    = {Lund University},
  title        = {Students' learning experience in multidisciplinary project groups :  Insights from a packaging development course },
  year         = {2016},
}