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Guest Blog: Effects of Technology Use on Collaborative Learning Results

May 30, 2017

Our Guest Post comes from Phillip Flamm, who teaches Operations Management in the ISQS department at Texas Tech University. This is his 9th posting on our OM blog.

The Rawls College of Business here at Texas Tech U. has recently added a “technology room.” This room has 9 rectangular tables and will seat teams of 5. Each table has a large monitor at the head of the table. At the front of the room is a podium with a large screen monitor behind it. Having plugged in their laptops to the room’s web site, team members have several options:

  • View the master podium screen on the table’s large monitor
  • View the laptop screen of one of the team members
  • View specific documents

Team members interact as follows:

  • Team members take very comprehensive notes in class (lecture is structured with accompanying power point slides)
  • Team posts one member’s notes from the most recent lecture on the table monitor
  • Members go around the table in order discussing the notes they have for each power point slide
  • Extended discussion may result if there are questions about the content (each member offers their individual understanding of the concepts)
  • Member with their notes on the monitor makes changes or additions based on a clearer understanding of the material (all members can see changes as they are made)
  • After reviewing the most recent lecture they move on to the next most recent, etc., until all lectures (for the next exam) are covered
  • Every lecture is covered every time the team meets (past lecture notes generally go faster than the most recent)
  • The posting member distributes a copy of the updated, more descriptive notes at the conclusion of the meeting

Team members experience faster learning rates, increased retention, and better understanding of quantitative material. To exhibit these advantages the team members’ average exam was 15 points higher than the other 380 course students on exams this semester.

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