Asee peer logo

Surfacing Key Mentoring Roles To Activate Learning, Team Formation, And Team Performance

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Research On Student Teams

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.1187.1 - 10.1187.14



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Steven Zemke

author page

Donald Elger

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Surfacing Key Mentoring Roles to Activate Learning, Team Formation, and Team Performance Steven C. Zemke, Donald F. Elger University of Idaho

Abstract Student teams are used in many educational settings to increase learning. Teams that experience strong formation, that is, develop strong cohesiveness between members typically produce the highest learning outcomes. Unfortunately, not all teams form well.

We utilize undergraduate mentors to increase team formation, team performance (quality of team products created using team based processes), and individual learning in our sophomore design class. However, merely having mentors does not guarantee these results; rather it is effective mentor interactions that influence learning positively. We need to know how to direct our mentors to activate learning, team formation, and team performance.

Our research question then is:

“What roles and practices can mentors take to activate team formation, team performance, and individual learning?”

Effective mentor roles were surfaced using a qualitative method case study. The case involved a class of 44 students and six mentors. Each week the mentors conducted the lab, recorded their insights of effective mentoring practices, distilled “best practices,” and incorporate these into the next week’s lab plan. The mentor best practices and an end of treatment student questionnaire were used to identify the key mentoring roles.

The most significant mentoring roles that emerged are: 1. Facilitate feedback: Giving constructive insights to individuals or teams concerning their performance or products, or facilitating the team to do so appears to effectively enable team formation and improve performance. Though the mentors and students were undergraduates, they were able to construct, give, and process feedback to improve their performance and teamwork. 2. Prompting students to think: Actions such as asking a team to explain their process or prompting an individual to assess a product appear to effectively activate learning. This indirect leading transfers the responsibility of learning to the students. 3. Redirecting questions: Redirecting students to teammates and printed resources appears to be an effective strategy to transfer responsibility for clarifying goals and answering simple student questions.

“Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition. Copyright © 2005, American Society for Engineering Education”

Zemke, S., & Elger, D. (2005, June), Surfacing Key Mentoring Roles To Activate Learning, Team Formation, And Team Performance Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14175

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2005 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015