Coaching tutors to observe and regulate leadership in PBL student teams or you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink…


  • Noreen O'Shea
  • Caroline Verzat
  • Benoit Raucent
  • Delphine Ducarme
  • Thérèse Bouvy
  • Benoit Herman




The purpose of this paper is to investigate how PBL student teams develop specific leadership configurations when implementing interdisciplinary projects and whether or not tutors help in dealing with the group interactions that are subsequently generated. The data set was drawn from 2 cohorts of first-year students engaged in PBL activities in an engineering school in Belgium in 2011 and 2012. Following qualitative content analysis of tutor and student feedback and the use of sociometric testing, findings for 2011 showed that students developed 4 specific leadership configurations, each of them being positively correlated to specific perceived work outcomes. Findings for 2012 were based on using the sociogram as a pedagogical tool to enable tutors to describe and regulate group dynamics. We found that tutors positively perceive their role in facilitating production outcomes but are more uncomfortable when it comes to regulating the interpersonal problems that arise in student self-managed teams.






Case studies of PBL and reflections on PBL in practice