Developing metacognitive engineering teams through targeted writing exercises and studying learning preferences

Kevin Dahm, Roberta Harvey, Brian Lefebvre, Heidi Newell, James Newell

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Metacognition is the awareness and understanding by a student of his or her own learning own skills, performance, preferences, and barriers. This paper describes a pilot scale effort to develop metacognition in engineering teams at Rowan University through structured writing and the use of the Learning Connections Inventory (LCI). The theoretical basis for the LCI is the Interactive Learning Model, which proposes that learning processes occur through four distinct learning patterns: sequential, precise, technical, and confluent. The LCI was used to profile the learning style of each student in the Rowan Chemical Engineering department. During the Fall Semester of 2004, engineering teams in the Junior/Senior Engineering Clinics were broken into four categories. Category I teams received instruction in use of the LCI and met with a facilitator and their teammates to examine their LCI profiles. In this meeting, potential areas for future conflict were discussed and the teams developed strategies to avoid these conflicts. Category II teams received no LCI instruction but participated in a series of structured writing assignments designed to enhance their awareness of teaming. These assignments included developing and ratifying a team charter and submitting biweekly reports on barriers to success and team dynamics. Category III teams received both the LCI training and participated in the structured writing assignments, while Category IV teams served as a control and participated in none of the activities. At the beginning of the semester, each person was surveyed to determine their perception of their teaming skills, their opinion of teams, and their level of interest in learning about teaming. The participants were surveyed again at the end of the semester and were also asked to evaluate the usefulness of the strategies. In addition, final project reports were collected and evaluated using a system of rubrics in order to assess the impact of these activities on team performance. The data indicate that the students receiving LCI instruction (with or without the targeted writing exercises) both performed better, and had better attitudes towards teaming, than did the students receiving no LCI training. There was also some indication that the targeted writing exercises were beneficial but these results were less conclusive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006
Event113th Annual ASEE Conference and Exposition, 2006 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jun 18 2006Jun 21 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)

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