Engineering students’ thoughts on teamwork and approaches to solving a problem with an underperforming member

  • Tanju Deveci Antalya Bilim University, Antalya 07190, Turkey
  • İdris Bedirhanoğlu Dicle University, Diyarbakir 21280, Turkey
Ariticle ID: 555
51 Views, 36 PDF Downloads
Keywords: engineering education; interactive learning; interpersonal communication; problem solving; soft-skills; teamwork


Engineering programs have to develop students’ teamwork skills. However, the onus on content specialists to teach teamwork skills may be challenging partly because of students’ negative attitudes towards and experiences with teamwork. This study investigated 295 engineering students’ thoughts on teamwork and the strategies they used to solve problems with underperforming team members. Data were collected using a survey and a discourse completion task. The results revealed that among the key reasons why the students liked such activities was the exchange of information and experience, increased quantity and quality of work, and interpersonal communication. However, they indicated lack of harmony, social loafing, lack of attention paid to tasks, and individual approaches to learning as reasons for skepticism about teamwork. As to problem-solving strategies, emphatic inquiry and judgmental questioning were most common. Based on these results, we suggest that engineering faculty collaborate with communication instructors in planning and executing soft-skills training for students. Engineering faculty should also be provided with technical support for the incorporation of teamwork activities in virtual environments.


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How to Cite
Deveci, T., & Bedirhanoğlu, İdris. (2024). Engineering students’ thoughts on teamwork and approaches to solving a problem with an underperforming member. Forum for Education Studies, 2(2), 555.