Supporting cooperative learning in distributed project teams
The trend towards rapid development and globalization of business activities requires business teams to carry out their projects in a distributed environment. Changes in the environment as well as in the team require these teams to continuously learn and to learn new knowledge and skills and to adapt their work processes. In such a distributed working and learning setting, team members need a shared information space to interact with various information resources and to coordinate and communicate to harmonize their actions. In our approach we combine work (i.e. the definition and execution of work processes) and learning (i.e. the learning and practicing of work processes) of distributed project teams. A cooperative visual hypermedia environment has been developed which offers support for cooperative work and learning. This visual environment provides various real-time dynamic views of the underlying work processes. These views help team members to identify situations that trigger a need for cooperative learning. By combining the work and the learning processes, this environment offers new possibilities for cooperative learning in distributed project teams such as process simulation, guided tours by experts through process descriptions and best practice examples, and cooperative roleplay for practicing work processes.