HOW TO IMPROVE TEAMWORK IN HIGHER EDUCATION WITH MATCHMAKING TECHNOLOGY
University of Hertfordshire (UNITED KINGDOM)
Teamwork is at the heart of the modern working culture; the ability to work well in a team is a key employability skill employers seek in graduates. However, two issues typically fundamentally undermine the effectiveness of team learning at University:
1) Typically little or no consideration is paid to who works together in a team.
As a result, teamwork at university often suffers from the following problems
- An uneven, unfair distribution of teams (very strong teams, very weak teams), which makes academic achievement a matter of luck;
- Highly homogenous teams (poor development of interpersonal skills, students not learning how to work together professionally);
- A frustrating team-working experience, especially for less integrated students;
- Limited inter-group networking.
2) Most teamwork occurs without structured guidance, resulting in students often having
- Minimal understanding of what constitutes effective team-work;
- Minimal understanding of how to be a constructive team member, and contribute practically to the success of the team;
- Little understanding of the needs of teams and how to work well across functions;
- Little understanding of collaboration techniques and methods.
The paper discusses the use of TeamMatch, an online tool developed at the University of Hertfordshire, that directly addresses the above issues and helps students improve their team-working abilities. TeamMatch uses insights from occupational psychology and matchmaking technology to sort students into balanced teams based on psychometric properties. The paper discusses first findings of using the software with 1,400 students.