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Walden Magazine // Jan 03, 2007

Don E. Ackerman Research Fellowship in Educational Leadership

Kay Lehmann, an EdD student and part-time faculty member in the College of Education, was awarded Walden University’s Don E. Ackerman Research Fellowship in Educational Leadership to study how forming student groups by matching personality types—Type A (high-strung) and Type B (more relaxed)—affects the quality of small-group learning environments online.

Some cooperative groups share workloads more equitably and collaborate better than others, and according to Lehmann, the group-work process can be even more difficult when cooperative work is part of an online course.

“In an online environment, the lack of physical and vocal cues could cause misunderstandings. When communication occurs only through text, the personality of each individual may take on extra significance, and when everyone’s grade for the group assignment depends on communication, any misunderstandings can become a source of great tension,” Lehmann says.

This tension could lead to dissatisfaction with the course and possibly dissatisfaction with, and withdrawal from, the online learning environment. Lehmann believes that her research could be a tool to prevent such outcomes.

“If student groups with similar personalities are more satisfied with the course compared to groups who have dissimilar personalities, then the more satisfied students will be more likely to take additional classes from the institution sponsoring the course,” she says.

The Don E. Ackerman Fellowship in Educational Leadership supports research that advances leadership in education through better understanding or practice. The fellowship supports the direct costs of research projects that contribute either theoretical or applied knowledge that may change education at the pre-K–12 educational level in any educational field or educational position.