June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Educational Research and Methods
13.415.1 - 13.415.15
Development of a Team Interaction Observation Protocol and a Self-Efficacy Survey Using Social Cognitive Theory as a Framework
In this paper, we present the development of two instruments designed to determine what student team interactions relate to self-efficacy and achievement. The social-cognitive theory constitutes the theoretical framework for the development of the instruments. Seven first-year engineering student teams participated in this study. Students took the self-efficacy survey and were video and audio-recorded during a semester. The first instrument created was a survey that measures engineering self-efficacy. Construct validity of this survey was established by correlating it with students’ achievement scores. The internal consistency of the self-efficacy survey is 0.9. The content validity of both instruments was established by a comprehensive literature review and feedback from a panel of experts. The second instrument is an observation protocol designed to capture team oral discourses that occur when solving engineering design problems. Thirty-five discourse moves were established through an iterative process of code development and refinement. These moves were grouped under six discourse categories: task-oriented, response- oriented, learning-oriented, support-oriented, challenge-oriented, and disruptive. The results show that achievement and gain in self-efficacy are significantly correlated. There is also a positive correlation between support-orientated discourse and post self-efficacy scores. Negative correlations are observed between disruptive discourse behaviors and post self-efficacy scores. Discussion includes recommendations for engineering educators on how to help teams build supportive environments and what to look for when evaluating student team interactions.
Teamwork is a common practice in engineering. Likewise, engaging students to work in collaborative teams to solve design problems is a common practice in engineering schools. A close examination of the team interactions of first-year engineering students was the main focus of this study. Designing an observation protocol to assess complex team dynamics would help with future research in engineering education aiming to study team processes. Using a mixed- methods approach, we identified team discourse characteristics that were correlated with student self-efficacy and achievement.
In the literature, team processes have been studied using diverse methods and tools such as peer evaluation surveys1 and verbal protocols 20, 22. Our study builds on these previous studies and contributes to teaching and research in engineering education in two ways: Firstly, it combines the survey, observation, and discourse analysis methods to establish a valid and reliable understanding of student team interactions. Secondly, the data for this study, collected through video and audio recordings, were obtained in a real first-year engineering classroom setting allowing us with an authentic view of student dynamics. The instruments designed in this study can be used for both research and instructional purposes.
From a research perspective, the team observation protocol can be used to explore a key variable in team settings: communication. Before investigating diverse learning processes that occur in
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