Designing Effective Team Assignments: Kolb's Learning Cycle modified by the 4 S Method

Lynam, Linda; McCord, Mary; Michaelsen, Larry
June 2010
Business Education Innovation Journal;2010, Vol. 2 Issue 1, p67
Academic Journal
This paper gives an overview and several examples of how to design effective team assignments for Information Technology/Information Systems (IT/IS) Management related courses. We modify the Kolb learning cycle, which is intended to explain individual learning, to a model that explains group learning by adding activities from a method for designing team assignments called the '4 S's'. This method of designing team assignments can be used independently in any curriculum but is especially effective when integrated into an experiential learning course. First, the paper will give an overview of Kolb's Cycle of Learning (1984), which has 4 stages; 1) Concrete Experience, 2) Reflective Observation, 3) Abstract Conceptualization and 4) Active Experimentation. Next, the 4 S method of creating effective team assignments is explained. To be effective, the team assignments must meet conditions: 1) Significant Problem, 2) Same Problem, 3) Specific Choice and, 4) Simultaneous Report. Each of Kolb's learning steps relates to a particular condition from the 4 S method, and the two are integrated. Finally, examples of effective assignments using the 4 S's for information systems are given.


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