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Teamwork and cooperative learning models are based on the premise that learning is best achieved interactively rather than through a one-way transmission process. In this study, the relationship between students' motivational orientation and the quality of learning in collaborative teams is investigated. A self-report measure of student self-efficacy and self-regulation was administered to students working on team-based assessment tasks, and correlated with performance data obtained from classroom assignments. The results showed that motivational beliefs were the best predictor of academic performance.
In addition, there is a growing emphasis in higher education institutions that students should be developing content knowledge as well as professional skills that can be directly applied in the workplace such as teamwork, problem solving skills, decision-making skills, communicative strategies and information literacy skills (Australian National Training Authority, 1998; Bennett, Dunne, & Carre, 1999; Candy, Crebert, & O'Leary, 1994; Dearing, 1997). Contemporary educational theory indicates that using self-regulation and self/peer assessment strategies in the learning settings are important elements needed to develop these skills (Boud, 1992; Loughram, 1996). These strategies in conjunction with online asynchronous communication tools can provide ideal motivational settings to help promote learning as well as professional skill development.
Peer review and self assessment tasks are alternative forms of assessment that involve individuals deciding what value their own, and each of their colleagues has contributed to a process or project, and enables students to engage in self-regulated activity. While positive finding have emerged from studies of peer assessment conducted in technology rich learning environments, there remains a need to investigate not only the cognitive aspects of such tasks and environments, rather than assuming that they provide optimal conditions for all learners (Jarvela, 1998). This study presents a teaching-learning environment that integrates teamwork with self/peer assessment strategies supported with an online application designed to motivate students and assist in supporting self-regulated learning. Two instruments are then used to assess students' metamotivational states (i.e. their awareness of their own goals, efficacy and motivational attitudes). Two major research questions are identified for investigation: First, whether there was a relationship between students' perceptions of teamwork and their performance on team assessment tasks, and second, whether there was any correlation between their motivational state and actual academic performance. In the investigation two questionnaires were designed to analyse the links between motivational orientation, impressions of teamwork and achievement scores.
The literature also acknowledges that cognitive achievement and metacognitive strategies are not sufficient to promote student achievement, and that students must also be motivated to learn intentionally and in a self-regulated manner (Pintrich, 1989). Student motivation is underpinned by a number of theoretical models and theories. The most commonly applied is the expectancy value model of motivation (Schunk, 1994)). According to Pintrich & De Groot (1990), there are three motivational components that may be linked to the different models of self-regulated learning:
A review of the literature on self and peer assessment indicates that in order to promote the development of these skills, the environment should be designed to encourage participants to:
Self-assessment refers to people being involved in making judgements about their own learning and progress, which contributes to the development of autonomous, responsible and reflective individuals (Sambell, McDowell, & Brown, 1998; Schon, 1987). This is also supported by Boud (1992), who has expressed the defining characteristics of self-assessment as: "The involvement of students in identifying standards and/or criteria to apply to their work and making judgements about the extent to which they have met these criteria." (p. 5)
Both self and peer assessment can be used to help inform the design of the learning environment while building on motivational goals and improving self-regulation skills. The investigation centered on establishing links and possible correlations that might exist between achievement on the assessment tasks and the 3 motivational elements of assessment i.e., expectancy (self-efficacy beliefs), learners' goals and emotional reactions to the task.
Figure 1: Design of the learning environment
Students are required to develop a project proposal (needs analysis, feasibility, scope and legal contract), design specification (storyboards, concept maps and rapid prototypes), metrics for costing the project, a product evaluation and address copyright/intellectual property issues. Students are also required to integrate and practice graduate attributes such teamwork and leadership skills.
The unit consists of 13, three-hour sessions over one full semester. Each session consists of a one-hour lecture followed by a two-hour tutorial. Team skills and collaboration are continually promoted with teams of four students working together to develop project management and generic skills. Student learning outcomes include:
Assessment includes the following:
A custom built online courseware management system was used to help deliver the coursework (see http://www.scam.ecu.edu.au/) and the unit was delivered in blended mode, combining face-to-face seminars with online learning tasks.
Table 1 shows the results for 'Impressions of Teamwork' obtained for team 1. Note that the responses were averaged to one decimal place (shown in the last row) using numeric values from the Likert scale:
|1.||The information and assistance provided by my peers during the semester was useful||1||1||1||1|
|2.||The communication between me and my peers was positive and open||1||1||-1||-1|
|3.||My team-mates and I discussed our answers to the online questions to reach consensus||1||1||2||1|
|4.||I would always ask my peers for assistance when I could not clearly understand a team activity or the online questions||1||-1||1||-2|
|5.||My peers valued my point of view and the information I rendered||1||2||1||1|
|6.||I interacted with my peers to share my thoughts and ideas while completing the online activities||1||-1||-1||-1|
|7.||I paid attention to what my peers were saying during discussions||1||1||1||1|
|8.||Whenever my team-mates had trouble understanding how to do team based activities or the posted question, I would help them||1||1||1||1|
|9.||There was much feedback provided within the group (by my peers)||1||-1||-1||-1|
|10.||Overall, the teamwork activities complemented this unit||-1||1||1||1|
Table 2 shows the results for 'Motivational Orientation' obtained from team 1, using the same Likert scale.
|1.||Compared with other students in this class I expect to do well||1||2||-1||1|
|2.||I'm certain that I understood the ideas taught in this course||-1||-1||1||-1|
|3.||I expect to do very well in this unit||1||1||-1||1|
|4.||Compared to others in this class, I think I'm a good student||1||2||1||2|
|5.||I'm sure it did an excellent job on the problems and tasks assigned in this class||-1||-1||-1||1|
|6.||I think I will receive a good grade for this class||-2||-1||1||1|
|7.||My study skills are excellent compared to others in this class||-1||-1||1||-1|
|8.||Compared with other students in this class I think I know a great deal about this subject||-1||-1||-1||1|
|9.||I know that I will be able to learn the material for this exam||-1||1||1||1|
|10.||I prefer class work that is challenging so I can learn new things||1||-1||1||1|
|11.||It is important for me to learn what is/was being taught in this class||1||1||1||-1|
|12.||I am studying to satisfy my own interests and not to get good grades||1||2||-2||1|
|13.||I think I will be able to use what I learn in this class in other contexts||1||-1||-2||1|
|14.||I often choose topics I will learn something from even if they require more work||1||1||-2||-1|
|15.||Even when I do poorly on an assessment I try to learn from my mistakes||1||2||-2||1|
|16.||I think that what I am learning in this class is useful for me to know||1||1||-2||-2|
|17.||I think that what we are learning in this class is too theoretical to be of value||1||-1||1||1|
|18.||When I find a problem, I am usually able to work it out for myself||1||-1||1||-1|
|19.||I am not nervous doing assessments/exams and I remember facts I have learnt||1||2||2||1|
|20.||I do not have an uneasy feeling when I submit an assignment||1||1||1||-1|
|21.||I do not worry a great deal about assignments||-1||1||1||1|
|22.||When I do an assignment I don't think about how poorly I am doing||-1||1||-2||-1|
|23.||I am able to judge how well I am doing in this subject without teacher assistance||1||-1||-2||1|
These averages shown at the bottom of table 1 and 2 were then tabulated against the team assignment mark as well as individual student exam marks (Table 3).
A Pearson product moment correlation coefficient was calculated between 'Teamwork Impressions' and 'Team Assignment' mark as well as 'Individual Exam' mark. This was also performed for 'Motivational Orientation'. The following significant results were obtained:
These results in this case study illustrate that 'Motivational Orientation' was a strong predictor of team assignment and individual exam scores. This implies that students who work in a self-motivated way will have a greater chance of getting better marks. For example, results from the motivational orientation questionnaire showed that in teams where there were high levels of self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation, there was also high achievement in team assignments and individual exam scores.
The 'impressions of teamwork' questionnaire responses showed that not all aspects of the team processes were positive. For example, items 6 and 9 received negative ratings, indicating that some students found the inter-team feedback and communication processes to be less than satisfactory. This result was reflected in the weak correlation between the questionnaire responses and team assignment marks. This contrasts with the positive motivational attitudes displayed by students in the 'Motivational Orientation' instrument.
Overall the results show that indicators of positive emotional states did have an impact on academic performance. For example, students who believed they were capable learners also reported the utilisation of positive team behaviours. The results are supported by previous work in the area of motivational orientation and cognitive achievement (Zimmerman, 2000). In addition, the focus on motivation in context, as depicted in the present study, highlights the significance of mutual reciprocal influences of individuals and contextual variables, and how the dynamics of self-perceptions and goals affect motivation and performance.
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|Authors: Catherine McLoughlin, Australian Catholic University, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org |
Joe Luca, School of Communications and Multimedia, Edith Cowan University. email@example.com
Please cite as: McLoughlin, C. & Luca, J. (2004). An investigation of the motivational aspects of peer and self-assessment tasks to enhance teamwork outcomes. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (Eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference (pp. 629-636). Perth, 5-8 December. http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/perth04/mcloughlin.html
© 2004 Catherine McLoughlin & Joe Luca
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