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Adam Watkins, Ph.D., M.F.A., Clinical Associate Professor, Assistant Dean for Leadership Development, Purdue University
Viashnavi Raparthi, Student Researcher, Purdue University

According to recent employer surveys conducted by the Association of American Colleges & Universities as well as the National Association of Colleges and Employers, working effectively in teams is a top skill that college graduates need to succeed in the workforce. However, college students consistently report poor or uncollaborative teamwork experiences, characterized by little instruction on best practices or constructive feedback on their performance.

This presentation begins by sharing honors faculty and student perspectives on the current conditions of team-based learning in higher education and the importance of improving teamwork training moving forward. From there, the presentation explores three innovative approaches for developing the collaboration skills essential to student success, all of which involve gamification pedagogy and rigorous engagement with research on team performance and team building.

The first innovation in question is an honors course entitled, Science of Teamwork. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to research on teamwork best practices and provide them with a dynamic learning environment to put those practices into action. This part of the presentation will offer reflections on course design, particularly the value of teambuilding games as an engaging yet deliberate platform for applied learning.

The second innovation is a research project involving honors faculty and students, titled Teamwork LevelUp! (TLU). The goal of this project is to develop an educational video game that will provide an immersive experience for young adults to practice key elements of successful teamwork and collaboration. This part of the presentation will showcase TLU’s intervention in the “edutainment” gaming sphere with discussion on best practices for teaching teamwork through educational games based on results from focus groups.

The presentation will conclude with a summary of best practices for incorporating teamwork training into honors curriculum, based on lessons learned from these innovations.