TeamSense: A Modular Measurement and Feedback Platform for Understanding Engineering Design Team Dynamics

PI: Prof. Larry Leifer, PhD


An increasing amount of work takes place in a team context, and there is a need to understand what factors can effectively diagnose, facilitate and predict team performance. Prior research has shown that certain team dynamics indicators are strongly correlated with long-term innovative performance. However, current team observation techniques are time-intensive, asynchronous with ongoing activity and often obtrusive to team function. Managers and teachers in project-based courses rarely have the time or opportunity to observe teamwork in progress, and therefore miss critical real-time dynamics cues.

Additionally, they may simply be unaware of what those cues are or how to address them. We believe that real-time, in situ team dynamics monitoring could have substantial benefit to team performance and learning, both through direct feedback to the team and through mediated feedback (e.g. teacher, coach or manager). We propose a distributed network of unobtrusive, “ambient” sensors to measure team function in real time and a series of prototypes to present this information in a useful and impactful format for team members and those overseeing them.