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Team Learning

The communication cycle

Developing competency in essential communication practices and conflict approaches can enhance student performance and satisfaction in collaborative learning environments.


  • To understand how managing the communication cycle can lead to improved individual and group performance in learning teams
  • To understand feedback as a process for generating individual and group growth
  • To differentiate between functional and dysfunctional conflict
  • To consider how using different communication styles can help us to manage different types of conflict more effectively

The presence of recording equipment is a persistent attention event that motivates performance while capturing data.

When considering the positive results of Team Hachi Project, a collaborative action research project to assess the viability of team learning with remedial students in a lecture-based Japanese university, researchers considered if the Hawthorne Effect was more responsible for improvements than the team learning process they had introduced. This introduced a question about whether the results represented substantive or superficial improvements in student performance and satisfaction (Duncan, 2013). Reviewing assessment, survey, video, and interview data collected during the research cycles illuminated the Hawthorne Effect as a useful tool that teachers can leverage to influence substantial improvements in student and classroom, especially when integrated with scaffolding techniques suggested in Lev Vygotskiǐ’s (1978) theory of cognitive development and situational leadership approaches proposed in Gerald Grow’s (1996) self-directed learning model.

This paper is adapted from:

Duncan, B. (2013). Assessing the viability of team learning with remedial students in a lecture-based Japanese higher education culture. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest LLC, Fielding Graduate University. Retrieved from

This paper was published in the December 2018 issue of Kyiv International University Higher Education Journal

(C) 2022 by Brent Duncan, PhD. All rights reserved. Contact Dr. Duncan using the Contact Us form at


To consider the potential impact of the Hawthorne Effect on student learning outcomes in Team Hachi Project, this article will do the following:

  1. Summarize the research design, process, and results of Team Hachi Project.
  2. Discuss the Hawthorne Effect's integration with scaffolding and situational leadership practices in a small-group learning environment.
  3. Conclude that intentionally leveraging the Hawthorne Effect to generate varying levels of attention can be an effective practice for rapidly scaffolding dependent learners toward interdependence and self-direction, improving performance and satisfaction, and fostering motivation to persist.

Have you ever been on a winning team? How did it make you feel to be a participating team member? Did you have more fun playing the game with others than when you played the game alone? Did you become a better player by practicing with the other team members? Did the team become more successful when it helped individuals develop better skills? Have you ever noticed effective groups that achieve high-performance levels, like a championship baseball team, a rock band, a debate team, a school orchestra, or a product development team? What makes those groups successful?

The Team Learning Game Board

School can be difficult and tedious, especially if we do little more than prepare to take tests. Do you ever wish that school could be more fun, like when you play games with friends? The interesting thing about playing games with others is that, besides having fun, we become stronger and smarter as individuals, build better relationships with others, and develop the discipline to help us become more successful in school, work, and society.

Why can’t school be more like that?


Student persistence practices

Best practices in supporting student success

Misawa Helps

Misawa Air Base personnel volunteer for Japan's recovery【東日本大震災津波】