Focusing on Process: Evidence and Ideas to Promote Learning Through the Collaborative Design Process: Emma Mercier, Shelley Goldman, and Angela Booker
A fundamental element in many learning technology design (LTD) courses is teamwork. However, teaching a course that has collaboration as a central element has many pitfalls, making it essential that instructors attend to the complexities of collaborative projects, and foster good collaborative practices among their students. Without attention to the collaborative process, groups can flounder, reverting to a divide-andconquer approach, excluding team-mates whose views or work practices differ, and focusing on completing the project rather than learning from the process. In this chapter, we describe a learning technology design course that we have taught for five years wherein students spend seven weeks working in groups with a K-12 educator to develop a functional learning application and supporting curricula. We identify collaborative challenges for students and report on how we evaluated teams based on their collaborations. We focus much of the chapter on case studies of two teams whose startling disparities in group performance and project quality originally motivated us to better understand collaboration in design courses. This discovery led us to examine a variety of data sources for group behaviors and collaborative approaches across all the groups. Finally, we describe how we supported the collaborative learning experience of students in our course and how we continually refined our support strategies.