Sunday, 01 June 2008 11:09

Team Learning Grows in Europe

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European researchers have developed the first online platform that integrates elements of e-learning, social networking and project management to help virtual teams get the most from their practical experience.

“Increasingly, project-centered teaching approaches are being adopted by institutions and enterprises,” says Xuan Zhou, a researcher at the Germany L3S Research Centre.

“Teams, rather than individual students, will work on a given project where support from teachers will often be substituted by interaction among team members (students). These team members may come from different institutions to provide different competencies and approaches.”

Numerous Web-based packages are available that allow people to collaborate on and manage projects among remote teams. But these tend to be geared toward commercial project management and are not focused on project work as a learning process, per se.

The Cooper Project has built a platform that meets the growing need for project-based e-learning. The platform combines functionality from project management, social networking methods and traditional e-learning systems. It provides a virtual environment in which geographically dispersed teams can talk together, contact tutors, set up project workflows and submit documents. It is especially for the university sector and companies with an international workforce or that have to train foreign customers.

“Most e-learning systems are based on modules, and students work through a curriculum,” explains Zhou, a member of the Cooper consortium. “Usually a student has something to learn, and the tutor sets questions or an assignment to test what they have learned. Collaborative learning through teamwork projects requires an entire project management system, but with e-learning functionality built in.”  

European researchers have developed the first online platform that integrates elements of e-learning, social networking and project management to help virtual teams get the most from their practical experience.

“Increasingly, project-centered teaching approaches are being adopted by institutions and enterprises,” says Xuan Zhou, a researcher at the Germany L3S Research Centre.

“Teams, rather than individual students, will work on a given project where support from teachers will often be substituted by interaction among team members (students). These team members may come from different institutions to provide different competencies and approaches.”

Numerous Web-based packages are available that allow people to collaborate on and manage projects among remote teams. But these tend to be geared toward commercial project management and are not focused on project work as a learning process, per se.

The Cooper Project has built a platform that meets the growing need for project-based e-learning. The platform combines functionality from project management, social networking methods and traditional e-learning systems. It provides a virtual environment in which geographically dispersed teams can talk together, contact tutors, set up project workflows and submit documents. It is especially for the university sector and companies with an international workforce or that have to train foreign customers.

“Most e-learning systems are based on modules, and students work through a curriculum,” explains Zhou, a member of the Cooper consortium. “Usually a student has something to learn, and the tutor sets questions or an assignment to test what they have learned. Collaborative learning through teamwork projects requires an entire project management system, but with e-learning functionality built in.”  

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