Team development and group processes of virtual learning teams
Scott D. Johnson*, Chanidprapa Suriya, Seung Won Yoon, Jared V. Berrett, Jason La Fleur
College of Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 345 Education Building, 1310 South Sixth Street, Champaign, Illinois, USA
Received 26 November 2000; accepted 4 June 2002
This study describes the community building process of virtual learning teams as they form, establish roles and group norms, and address conﬂict. Students enrolled in an HRD masters program taught entirely online were studied to determine (1) how virtual learning teams develop their group process, and (2) what process and strategies they use ...view middle of the document...
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Computers & Education 39 (2002) 379-393
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E-mail address: email@example.com (S.D. Johnson).
need to address the technical knowledge and skills of the workforce. This has led to an increased emphasis on the role of learning in organizations, where individuals must view learning as a major component of their work responsibility within the organization (Marsick & Watkins, 1993). The nature of work within organizations is also changing from individual assignments to team-based activities. The change toward increased team-based responsibilities has paralleled the growth of communication technologies that can be used to support work teams. Teams are now able to communicate, collaborate, and perform irrespective of time and space (Cantu, 1999). The role of teams is not conﬁned to the workplace. Today's workforce and education providers
are realizing the beneﬁts of collaborative teams in the learning process. Researchers who study groups working on tasks or work teams also use the term ''group'' as a unit of analysis (Hack- man, 1990; Sundstorm, DeMeuse, & Futrell, 1990). In this study, the terms ''group'' and ''team'' are used interchangeably. Researchers have demonstrated that learning is most eﬀective when students work in groups, verbalize their thoughts, challenge the ideas of others, and collaborate to achieve group solutions to problems (Deutsch, 1962; Johnson & Johnson, 1989, 1994). While the beneﬁts of collaborative learning have been established for face-to-face teams (Means, Schlager, & Poirier, 1994), the impact of distance and time on virtual team roles, functions, and processes have received little attention. Working in a virtual team is unique because of the phy- sical separation of the group, yet little is understood about how distance and time aﬀects their ability to make plans, communicate, and work to accomplish team goals. The purpose of this study was to describe the team development and group process of virtual
learning teams as they form, establish roles and group norms, and address conﬂict. The goal of this study was to generate recommendations for integrating successful virtual learning teams into Internet-based training courses. This study was guided by the following research questions:
1. How do virtual learning teams develop and determine their group process? 2. What processes and strategies do virtual learning teams use as they carry out their team
2. Theoretical framework
Understanding teams, collaborative learning, and team environments is becoming more important because advances in technology, globalization, and organizations are moving toward utilizing more network structures and team-based functions (Lipnack & Stamps, 1997). The term ''virtual team'' is becoming more prevalent as teams move from...