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On-line Learning Teams - Learning in The Workplace

April 1, 2005

To meet the needs of teachers in the field who wish to find a time-efficient way to work to together on building level student learning goals, On Line Learning Teams are a great solution.

Learning teams are assembled by teachers and administrators to address specific issues at the building or district level. They identify specific teaching strategies or programs that are included in the District or Building Career Development Plans to discuss, experiment, develop new approaches, share experiences and measure progress in student learning.

Learning teams provide flexible, powerful professional development that is grounded in best practice of collaborative learning. The learners begin with what they know, learn at individual rates, takes risks with new ideas and methodologies, monitor success and experience a sense of personal and team accomplishment.

The size of the group is an important factor in the success of these teams. The research indicates that the optimal size is four to five members (Learning Team Handbook, 2003). In addition, group members need to have easy to use on-line technology in order to share virtual discussions, exchange documents and materials, and develop strategies in an online collaboration.

The organization of an On Line Learning Team is facilitated by members of the Staff Development Dept. at the AEA. Staff members will assist in developing a syllabus for the course, design and schedule the types of virtual and face to face meeting times and dates and assist in completing registration. To earn one hour of credit, the group must meet for a minimum of fifteen hours.

The content of the course must include the focus of the study and research, an action plan to conduct job-imbedded action research and an intended product. The team completes meeting logs, collects findings, gathers evaluations, and assembles student performance data and other information specific to the intended study. The results of the study are then shared with building and district level leadership teams and the administration of the building and/or district.

Teachers or administrators interested in forming an On Line Learning Team can contact Georgie Koenig, Head of Staff Development (344-6487 or gkoenig@aea9.k12.ia.us). She can assist in setting up the course content, developing the syllabus and provide training in the on-line delivery system. Media consultants can also assist in assembling a bibliography of readings or media products that would support the team’s study. Consultants can also attend the first meeting, if needed, to organize the activities.

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