“Do shared mental models (SMMs) change over time in teams of students in a manufacturing engineering course?


The main research question for this study is, “Do shared mental models (SMMs) change over time in teams of students in a manufacturing engineering course?”(Lee & Johnson, 2008). This study was conducted to assess the concept of team based learning within a classroom (Lee & Johnson, 2008). “The researchers defined shared mental models as a knowledge structure held by members of a team that enables them to form accurate explanations and expectations for the task, and in turn, to coordinate their actions and adapt their behavior to demands of the task and other team members.” (Lee & Johnson, p.73, 2008). The study focused on three stages; preprocess, in-process and post process coordinator (Lee & Johnson, 2008). The methods used participants from undergraduate engineering courses at any southeastern university. The researchers observed 73 students in their early twenties who were randomly assigned to teams of two (Lee & Johnson, 2008). “They were instructed to analyze, test and propose ways to improve a certain product” (Lee & Johnson, 2008). Questionnaires were used to obtain data and compare similarity scores. The results displayed that team shared mental models similarity actually increased during the timeframe (Lee & Johnson, 2008). I think this study would benefit from assessing other types of students, not just engineers. Engineering students may have specific traits, such high desire to problem solve, which could be significant to the overall study. If the researchers used the same study but assessed liberal arts or marketing majors, I am curious what the results would be.

Lee, M., & Johnson, T. E. (2008). Understanding the effects of team cognition associated with complex engineering tasks: Dynamics of shared mental models, Task-SMM, and Team-SMM. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 21 (3), 73-95.

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