Group process quality in digital learning
Project work or learning groups: in universities and other university-level institutions, it is generally assumed that student teamwork does not require external help, even when the task at hand involves computer-aided problem solving using complex numerical tools. This is a misconception.
We are investigating complex, dynamic group processes occurring in student groups using digital tools to solve problems together, for example in a project report. We are interested in the common commitment within the group, and more specifically in the fluctuations of this commitment on the social-emotional level, to which surprisingly little attention is paid in university-level teaching. However, one thing is certain: performance and learning success suffer when commitment is insufficient and group members lack affinity. We hope to identify the characteristics of high-quality group commitment, to find out how this quality evolves and to determine how it can be regulated. Particular attention is paid to non-verbal behaviour.
In the field of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL), little is known about commitment quality fluctuations within learning groups and even less about the role of non-verbal behaviour in this process. We assume that non-verbal behaviour is particularly important in social interactions between students. And we suspect that changes in non-verbal behaviour within learning groups can serve to identify commitment fluctuations at an early stage and to intervene if necessary.
Lack of knowledge concerning commitment quality and non-verbal behaviour in learning groups is largely due to the fact that these factors are difficult to measure. The aim of the project is therefore to develop automated methods for the recording and visualizing of non-verbal social interactions and group processes in work groups, and to analyse the large amounts of data generated. Based on new findings from three studies, feedback systems will then be developed.
The project results are not only scientifically relevant, but should also serve as a solid foundation for evidence-based academic development and the evolution of university teaching in times of digital transformation. These objectives are particularly important since interdisciplinary cooperation and teamwork are increasingly becoming key competencies, especially in technical degree programs.
Next generation learning: Investigating and enhancing collaborative group engagement quality to support learning groups [by social robots]