Are we designing engineering curriculum scientifically?

Engineering is Hard!

What? My first day in college and I’m told it will be hard?

Engineering is a hard major but can provide you a lifetime of rewards if it matches your interests and talents.Engineering is hard, but so are athletics, music, religious observance, marriage, parenting, and many other popular worthwhile pursuits.

If we want our country and economy to get back on track we need to fix the education system for math and science related degrees. It’s simple really and everyone knows it. Growth happens when people build and sell things. In an age of high tech innovation those “growth” building blocks rely squarely on the skills acquired in a science, technology, math or engineering curriculum.

4 hours a day, 5 days a week, a professor stands up in front of a classroom and paraphrases sections from a book. After a few weeks of lectures and labs, the class is ready for its first test. A few days before the exam the libraries are packed. Students cram all of the formulas and anecdotes into their brains because in a few hours they will be responsible for regurgitating those same formulas onto a test. And once that test is finished, all of that information evaporates. Why? Because now the students need to focus on the next chapters and shortly thereafter they’ll have their next exam. By the next semester most of the learned information will go to waste because there was never any real practical experience applied to the information in the first place. Cram, regurgitate, next.

Learning from experience : David Drew a professor from foreign university, basically said to the class, “Here are some parts, here is how to make a Printed Circuit Board (PCB), and here are some circuits. Go build a firefighting robot that can autonomously navigate a maze and put out a fire.” What ensued was what all engineering programs should be like. Students had to figure things out on their own and when they had questions they would ask Mr. David. By the end of the class students had learned about resistors, transistors, tute-bot circuits, and an entire array of engineering concepts.Students learn these concepts by doing and not by sitting in some lecture hall taking notes.

Students are different learners then they were ten years ago. Education is what needs to change. Student’s today can’t learn the same way we did.

We need a motivating curriculum that enhances a student’s preparedness for life.

Innovation in the Classroom Helps Teachers Meet a Wide Range of Student Interests and Achievement Levels.

Teachers know that if students are unable to see the “real world” importance in a lesson, the instruction falls flat. Fully 94% of teachers across all grade levels say learning experiences that provide students with 21stCentury skills are absolutely essential (54%) or very important (40%) in impacting achievement.
Teachers identified two key ways of providing these kinds of relevant experiences:

1)  Differentiate assignments to, in effect, meet students “where they are” in terms of both personal interest and individual ability;

2)  Use technology and other materials to keep students engaged while teaching them the material they need to learn in order to advance academically.
These ideas were clearly reinforced by the survey findings.

P M Modi’s Make In India Campaign


Job Creation, enforcement to Secondary and Tertiary sector, Boosting national economy, Converting the India to a self-reliant country and to give the Indian economy global recognition.


• Make in India is an international marketing strategy, conceptualized by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi on 25 September 2014, Thursday, with an audience of CEOs that packed Delhi’s Vigyan Bhawan, where Mr. Modi launched his ambitious “Make in India” campaign.
• The campaign aims at turning the country into a global manufacturing hub by smoothening business processes and attracting foreign companies to set up factories in India and invest in the country’s infrastructure.
• Foster innovation.
• Enhance skill development.
• Protect intellectual property.
• The focus, on creating jobs and helping the “poor reach the middle class faster”.

The Step of a Lion

The logo is a striding lion made of cogs, symbolizing manufacturing, strength and national pride.

Here are 10 key points from PM Modi’s speech:

1) FDI gets a new lingo:

For the world foreign direct investment (FDI) is an opportunity, but FDI is also a responsibility for the people of India, the prime minister said. My definition of FDI for the people of India is “First Develop India…for foreigners, it is an opportunity,”he said. We have to create opportunities of employment, he added.

2) Do not treat India as a market:

PM Modi said global businesses have always viewed India as a big market, but Indians lack purchasing power. Investors will lose an opportunity, if they continue to look at India as a market, he said. The Prime Minister said the faster people move out of poverty, the faster India’s purchasing power will grow.

3) Do not leave India:

Trust forced Indian companies to leave the country in the last few years, PM Modi said. “A trust was broken that when a policy will be changed, when CBI will come…this is what I heard from all you,” PM Modi said. We do not want any industrialist being forced to leave India, he added.

4) Government to ensure capital preservation:

Investors first want security of their investment, followed by growth, while profit is the last priority, PM Modi said. The new government will ensure the preservation of capital, he said.

5) Improving the ease of doing business a priority:

According to World Bank, India ranks 134 out of 189 countries in terms of the ease of doing business. PM Modi today said that his government will see that the country climbs quickly to 50th position on the list.

6) India best destination to invest in Asia:

The world is looking at Asia. I do not have to waste time to invite…I need to give the address, PM Modi said. Only India has the unique combination of democracy, demographic dividend and demand, he added.

7) Easy governance, effective governance:

The “Digital India” push is aimed at effective governance, PM Modi said. Industry does not come when there are too many incentive schemes. A development & growth oriented environment is need, he added.

8) Skilled manpower:

India needs manpower according to requirements and if we can develop the right skills, we can achieve sustainable development, PM Modi said.

9) Look East, but Link West:

India needs to pursue the Look East policy, but also absorb the best practices of the western world, PM Modi said.

10) Infrastructure:

India needs better infrastructure for further growth, the PM said, adding there is a need for not only highways, but also i-highways (information highways). The country needs electric, water, gas and optical fibre grids, he added.

Five challenges that the ‘Make in India’ could face:

1. Creating healthy business environment will be possible only when the administrative machinery is efficient. India has been very stringent when it comes to procedural and regulatory clearances. A business-friendly environment will only be created if India can signal easier approval of projects and set up hassle-free clearance mechanism.
2. India should also be ready to tackle elements that adversely affect competitiveness of manufacturing. To make the country a manufacturing hub the unfavorable factors must be removed. India should also be ready to give tax concessions to companies who come and set up unit in the country.
3. India’s small and medium-sized industries can play a big role in making the country take the next big leap in manufacturing. India should be more focused towards novelty and innovation for these sectors. The government has to chart out plans to give special sops and privileges to these sectors.
4. India’s make in India campaign will be constantly compared with China’s ‘Made in China’ campaign. The dragon launched the campaign at the same day as India seeking to retain its manufacturing prowess. India should constantly keep up its strength so as to outpace China’s supremacy in the manufacturing sector.
5. India must also encourage high-tech imports, research and development (R&D) to upgrade ‘Make in India’ give edge-to-edge competition to the Chinese counterpart’s campaign. To do so, India has to be better prepared and motivated to do world class R&D. The government must ensure that it provides platform for such research and development.

What you think about “Make in India” Campaign and how would you like to contribute to this campaign.

How You Can Use Active Learning To Transform Your Classroom ?

One must learn by doing the thing, for though you think you know it– you have no Certainties until you try.

The past decade has seen an explosion of interest among college faculty in the teaching methods variously grouped under the terms ‘active learning’. I provide below a survey of a wide variety of active learning techniques which can be used to supplement rather than replace lectures. I am not advocating complete abandonment of lecturing. The lecture is a very efficient way to present information but use of the lecture as the only mode of instruction presents problems for both the instructor and the students. There is a large amount of research attesting to the benefits of active learning.

Active Learning is, in short, anything that students do in a classroom other than merely passively listening to an instructor’s lecture. This includes everything from listening practices which help the students to absorb what they hear, to short writing exercises in which students react to lecture material, to complex group exercises in which students apply course material to “real life” situations and/or to new problems. Active learning techniques employ more formally structured groups of student’s assigned complex tasks, such as multiple-step exercises, research projects, or presentations

Active learning is a model of instruction that focuses the responsibility of learning on learners. It was popularized in the 1990s by its appearance on the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) report. They cite literature which indicates that to learn, students must do more than just listen: They must read, write, discuss, or be engaged in solving problems. It relates to the three learning domains referred to as knowledge, skills and attitudes (KSA. In particular, students must engage in such higher-order thinking tasks as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Active learning engages students in two aspects – doing things and thinking about the things they are doing.

Numerous studies have shown that introducing active learning activities (such as simulations, games, contrasting cases, labs,) before, rather than after lectures or readings, results in deeper learning, understanding, and transfer. The degree of instructor guidance students need while being “active” may vary according to the task and its place in a teaching unit. In an active learning environment learners are immersed in experiences within which they are engaged in meaning-making inquiry, action, imagination, invention, interaction, hypothesizing.

Techniques of Active Learning

These exercises are particularly useful in providing the instructor with feedback concerning student understanding and retention of material. Some are especially designed to encourage students’ exploration of their own attitudes and values. Many are designed to increase retention of material presented in lectures and texts.

  1. The “One Minute Paper” – This is a highly effective technique for checking student progress, both in understanding the material and in reacting to course material. Ask students to take out a blank sheet of paper, pose a question either specific or open-ended, and give them one minute to respond. Some sample questions include: “What is “scientific realism”?”, “What is the activation energy for a chemical reaction?”, “What is the difference between replication and transcription?”, and so on. Another good use of the minute paper is to ask questions like “What was the main point of today’s class material?” This tells you whether or not the students are viewing the material in the way you envisioned

  2. Reading Quiz – Clearly, this is one way to coerce students to read assigned material! Active learning depends upon students coming to class prepared. The reading quiz can also be used as an effective measure of student comprehension of the readings (so that you may gauge their level of sophistication as readers). Further, by asking the same sorts of questions on several reading quizzes, you will give students guidance as to what to look for when reading assigned text.

  3. Clarification Pauses – This is a simple technique aimed at fostering “active listening”. Throughout a lecture, particularly after stating an important point or defining a key concept, stop, let it sink in, and then (after waiting a bit!) ask if anyone needs to have it clarified. You can also circulate around the room during these pauses to look at student notes, answer questions, etc. Students who would never ask a question in front of the whole class will ask questions during a clarification pause as you move about the room.

  4. Response to a demonstration or other teacher centered activity – The students are asked to write a paragraph that begins with: I was surprised that … I learned that … I wonder about … This allows the students to reflect on what they actually got out of the teachers’ presentation. It also helps students realize that the activity was designed for more than just entertainment.

  5. Active Review Sessions – In the traditional class review session the students ask questions and the instructor answers them. Students spend their time copying down answers rather than thinking about the material. In an active review session the instructor posses’ questions and the students work on them in groups. Then students are asked to show their solutions to the whole group and discuss any differences among solutions proposed.

  6. Debates – Formal debates provide an efficient structure for class presentations when the subject matter easily divides into opposing views or ‘Pro’/‘Con’ considerations. Students are assigned to debate teams, given a position to defend, and then asked to present arguments in support of their position on the presentation day. The opposing team should be given an opportunity to rebut the argument(s) and, time permitting, the original presenters asked to respond to the rebuttal. This format is particularly useful in developing argumentation skills (in addition to teaching content).

Why is active learning important?

The amount of information retained by students declines substantially after ten Minutes (Thomas,1972). Research comparing lecture versus discussion techniques was summarized in The report Teaching and Learning in the Classroom prepared by the National Center for Research to Improve Post secondary Teaching and Learning (McKeachie, et. al., 1987).

The review Concluded that

  •  In those experiments involving measures of retention of information after the end of a course, measures of problem solving, thinking, attitude change, or motivation
  • For further learning, the results tend to show differences favoring discussion methods over lecture. Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just by sitting in class listening to teachers, memorizing pre-packaged assignments, and spitting out answers.
  • They must talk about what they are learning, write about it, relate it to past experiences, apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.

What obstacles or barriers prevent faculty from using active learning strategies?

Six commonly mentioned obstacles to using active learning strategies include:

1. You cannot cover as much course content in the time available;
2. Devising active learning strategies takes too much pre-class preparation;
3. Large class sizes prevents implementation of active learning strategies;
4. Most instructors think of themselves as being good lecturers;
5. There is a lack of materials or equipment needed to support active learning approaches;
6. Students resist non-lecture approaches.

How can we overcome these barriers ?

1. Admittedly, the use of active learning strategies reduces the amount of available lecture time that can be devoted to content coverage. Faculty who regularly use active learning strategies typically find other ways to ensure that students learn assigned course content (e.g., using reading and writing assignments, through their classroom examinations, etc.)

2 The amount of pre-class preparation time needed to implement active learning strategies will be greater than that needed to “recycle old lectures;” it will not necessarily take any more time than that needed to create thorough and thoughtful new lectures.

3. Large class size may restrict the use of certain active learning strategies (e.g., it is difficult to involve all students in discussion in groups larger than 40) but certainly not all. For example, large classes can be divided into small groups for discussion activities, writing assignments can be read and critiqued by students instead of the instructor, etc.

4. Most instructors see themselves as good lecturers and therefore see no reason to change. Though lecturing is potentially a useful means of transmitting information, teaching does not equal learning; this can be seen clearly in the painful disparity between what we think we have effectively taught, and what students indicate they have learned on the examination papers that we grade.

5. The lack of materials or equipment needed to support active learning can be a barrier to the use of some active learning strategies but certainly not all. For example, asking students to summarize in writing the material they have read or to form pairs to evaluate statements or assertions does not require any equipment.

6. Students resist non-lecturing approaches because active learning alternatives provide a sharp contrast to the very familiar passive listening role to which they have become accustomed. With explicit instruction in how to actively participate and learn in less-traditional modes, students soon come to favor the new approaches.


The sort of teaching we propose requires that we encourage active learning and that we become knowledgeable about the ways in which our students hear, understand, interpret, and integrate ideas.

Women Empowerment

Don’t doubt my courage. I am match for any man

Before talking about Women Empowerment we will see what exactly ‘Empowerment’ means. Empowerment is derived from a Latin word ‘ponere‘ which means ‘to be able‘. The term Empowerment has different meanings in different social culture and political contexts. It can be described as process of increasing the capacity of individual or groups to make choices and to transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes. Indian Government describes Empowerment as moving from a position of enforced powerlessness to one of power. India being a conglomerate of diverse ethnic linguistic and geographical features today is at the cusp of a paradigm change in its growth and its position in the world.

What is Women Empowerment? – just releasing a document mentioning that some seats should be reserved for this specific gender, thinking they are incapable of achievements of any sort on their own merit?
A big NO! its an attitude, a belief, a philosophy, a way of life. It cannot be brought by a law enforcement. It just has to come from within. There is difference between law Enforcement Empowerment and a genuine feeling of love and respect towards women is same like difference between Education and Literacy.

In order to bring about real Women Empowerment the very first step is to stop differentiating between the Male and Female. Real empowerment as we need it today can be brought about only if we educate ourselves and our children, to respect WOMEN and not by passing a legislation. Here again its we women who have to play a significant role because THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE rules the world .

Women are not just to look after the house, cook, give birth and spend her entire life taking care of the families in the four walls of the house. A man and woman are made by God to compliment each other neither is in any way inferior to the other. Both have different roles to play and should be respected for that.

Women should not look up to the male to give them Empowerment either they have to achieve it, snatch it or earn it. They should make themselves indispensable in very field and try to forgo the Perks which makes them appear dependents. Indian myths describe our country as ‘Mother India’ who is a woman that serves as the mother of every Indian. But we should not forget that history in a witness to the women who have in the past demonstrated unique leadership capabilities. Razia Sultana, Rani of Jhansi Laxmibai, Sarojini Naidu, Indira Gandhi, Savitribai Phule, Mother Teresa, Kiran Bedi, Kalpana Chawala, P.T Usha and many more who have tremendously contributed in proving that women are no less then men in any field.

Women Empowerment does not mean giving them right to work in movies. Acid throwing, Dowry, Child marriage, Domestic Violence, No to girl child, No education, Rape, Sexual Harassment, Trafficking still are the drawbacks that women are facing till date. A strong and firm step should be taken against it and this will be the very initial step taken by the womens for their Empowerment their Respect.

Women are playing bigger and bigger role in economic field: as workers, consumers, entrepreneurs, managers and investors.The rapid pace of economic development has increased the demand for educated female labor force almost in all fields. Women are earning as much as their husbands do, their employment nonetheless adds substantially to family and gives family an economic advantage over the family with only one breadwinner.

In spite all drawbacks and hurdles that still prevail, Indian women (especially educated) are no longer hesitant or apologetic about claiming a share and visibility within the family, at work, in public places, and in the public discourse.

What Prevents Students from Focusing on Studies?

Confused Student
While time spent at college and school is a fond memory and a happy experience for most, college and school life is not without its rough patches and problems. While each person’s problem is unique to their current circumstances, There are few problems that almost all college and school students deal with at least once during their time at school. If you are on your way into college you might want to get a jump on how to deal with the 10 Common Problems Students Face During College.  If you are reading for the sake of remembrance and posterity, I would ask that you try and throw a few good memories into the mix as you plod through the problems that once plagued you in your youth, or not so distant past.

Lack of guidance

Problem: In our country, student faces a lot of problems during their educational career.They are the most unguided students in the world. Neither the parent due to their ignorance due to which they can’t chose proper subject and proper filed nor the teachers due to lack of professionalism are able to guide them. Lack of guidance is very serious problem which students face. The purpose of early education is to induce in to the students an interest of education but children are taught by untrained teachers in their early stage, so they lose interest in education. The high expectation of families and absence of guidance affects the ability of the students.

Solution: Students should get basic knowledge about any profession before deciding to take it as their future profession. For this purpose they should consult the persons which are already attached with that profession are great source of information. So you can consult a person which is related to the profession which you want to join in future.


Problem: College is challenging. The work is hard and some students may experience their first low grades. Most students have done well in high school. Some high school courses are not as demanding as college. A student has to learn a particular professor’s expectations and style of grading. Students will be expected to maintain their own schedules and develop good study habits. There is no one around to force the student to study, to go to class, or to get a good night’s sleep.

Solution: Students have to create a structure that works for them. Time management is a skill that should be learned. While the purpose of college is to study and to further the education of an individual, that doesn’t mean students should study all of the time.  It is important to schedule time for fun outside of study, and to take study breaks to keep the mind fresh and clear.

Language Barrier

Problem: Our students are also subjected to very frequent changes in the medium of instruction. In the process the best they can do is to learn to read one of the languages. Majority is unable to understand what is written in the text. They memorize the text and recopy it in examination, which kills the basic aim of education. Most of the students were studied in Marathi, Hindi, and Urdu in colleges and universities most subjects and books are in English. They can’t understand it easily. This language barrier is also caused lack of confidence among students who got education in regional languages. In colleges and universities they meet the students of English medium schools who speaks English fluently they lose their confident in class. Experts believe that students can learn very quickly in their mother tongue but in our Pakistan we are running behind English language.

Solution: Most of the developed countries have education system in their mother language like Germany, France etc. By educating in their mother language they do not only promote their language but also their students understand well. As English is an international language so it should be an optional subject not a compulsory one. Because our most students can not understand it well, they just memorize it without knowing the meaning of the text. So, the education must be in our mother language so that students can easily understand it & not only to memorize it & recopy in examination but gain some knowledge & concept.


Problem: Tuition costs are rising at alarmingly high rates. Couple that with eating out, shopping trips, gas for the car, and the price of textbooks, and you have a college student’s worst nightmare. College students drop out of school each year because they cannot afford it. Others are forced to juggle full schedules with full time jobs to make ends meet. It is becoming increasingly harder for students to graduate debt-free.

Solution: Student loans are relatively easy to get. Unfortunately, students are typically not well educated on how these loans work, how repayment of these loans works, and just how many years they may spend repaying these loans. Consider an on-campus job initially. This will allow you to stay on campus, cutting out potential transportation expenses and keeping you in a more academically focused environment all of the time.

Difference in Theory & practical world

Problem: In our colleges and universities students got bookish and theoretical knowledge but to get job they need practical knowledge and skills. In fact, students required theoretical knowledge for their professional growth and development but in job market they need something more. Now there is too much competition in the market and owners only hire that person which has some kind of experience regarding the required job.

Solution: This problem can be solved very easily by students themselves. Students can join a company or organization during their studies for the experience. This will gives you much experience and also professional knowledge which would boost your personality.


Problem: Depression among college students wears many faces, and, in a survey conducted by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, 36.4% of college students reported they experienced some level of depression in 2013. Depression is the number one reason students drop out of school, and is a gateway issue that, if left untreated, could lead to other symptoms or suicide.
Depression is a common but serious illness that leaves you feeling despondent and helpless, completely detached from the world. It interferes with your life, making it difficult to work, study, sleep and eat

Solution:  If high stress levels and depression are an issue, it is best to seek professional attention.  Many campuses have free counseling programs for the benefit of students.  Many counselors are more than willing to listen and help students get back on track. This doesn’t mean the partying has to stop either, so long as students are partying responsibly and legally.

Sickness / Health Conditions

Problem:  With heightened levels of stress and lack of sleep, health problems can occur.  Living in close quarters in dorms also poses potential health risks and increases a student’s chances of contracting some sort of virus or other sickness.

Solution:  College students should eat healthy and balanced meals.  It is also important for students to get a good night’s rest as well.  Keeping hands, bathrooms, door knobs, and other shared spaces clean will also reduce the risk of students coming down with sickness.  If sickness and health issues do develop, most campuses will have a nurse on standby to provide medical assistance and advice.


Problem:  Whether they admit it or not, most students will at one point get homesick.  This is especially common for students who go to other cities or states for higher studies and stay away from their home. Homesickness is mostly found in first year students as it is presumably their first year away from home.

Solution:  Student can plan to visit home perhaps once every month or two.  Care packages, emails, and phone calls to and from friends and family members can also greatly assist in reducing feeling of homesickness. Friends / Roommates Problem:  Friends and roommates are usually good for a good time.  However, they can get on each other’s nerves at times.  Because these students are living together in close quarters and seeing each other each day, this is just not a good thing Solution:  Students must remember to take some time out for themselves.  If possible, students should get away from campus for a little while and go to a coffee shop, or a mall and just take some time to gather their thoughts and be themselves.  If conflicts do arise, it is best to get others (such as an RA or other friends) involved so that the spirit of community, unity, and peace at the college can continue to be upheld.


Problem: Partying and engaging in alcohol and drug use has become commonplace on many college campuses throughout the world, but for some students, what starts as a social tradition can become a full-fledged addiction. An addiction is defined as a dependency and repeated abuse of a substance such as drugs or alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that: About 80% of college students drink About 50% of those are binge drinkers 1,825 students, ages 18 to 24, die from alcohol-related injuries annually Students are more likely to be assaulted, sexually abused or injured by someone who’s been drinking About 25% of students who drink regularly report academic problems

Solution:  While parties are a good time, students should plan to enjoy them in a responsible and legal way to ensure that they do not create problems for themselves for others.  A simple internet search for drunk driving will turn up plenty of pictures and news articles which really do not need to be repeated.


Stay Fresh by Saving Time

The secret weapon of leaders

Time is a powerful resource. All of us in this world have been granted exactly 24 hours! It what we do with them defines who we become. Time when wasted has a negative impact on us. It adds to the guilty feeling plus it contributes to lower self esteem.

Therefore saving time becomes everyone’s priority. We tend to feel fresh when we save time. Give yourself regular breaks in long work. And measure your progress regularly. If you estimate your work right and achieve small milestones, you get a sense of progress and a very good feeling leading to high self-esteem.

So try to save time. Every time. identify whom you can delegate some of your work. Do those task that are aligned with your expertise. Try to occupy yourself with tasks that are important but not urgent. This way you will not drain out of your energy.

Meg Tiwari

Makers of Excellent Engineering Education Software. Our software helps Teachers Save 30% Time Click to Know How?. Want to try it yourself here?.

How to Work Effectively in Teams?

We can do more when we work together!!

You can’t expect a new team to perform well when it first comes together. Forming a team takes time, and members often go through recognizable stages as they change from being collections of strangers to united groups with common goals. Groups are a common arrangement in today’s business. Any manager who works with or supervises groups should be familiar with how they develop over time. Perhaps the best-known scheme for a group development was advanced by Bruce Tuckman in 1965. Initially, Tuckman identified four stages of group development, which included the stages of forming, storming, norming and performing. A fifth stage was later added by Tuckman about ten years later, which is called adjourning. It is believed that these stages are universal to all teams despite the group’s members, purpose, goal, culture, location, demographics and so on. The Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing model of group development are all necessary and inevitable in order for the team to grow, to face up to challenges, to tackle problems, to find solutions, to plan work, and to deliver results. This model has become the basis for subsequent models. Tuckman’s model explains that as the team develops maturity and ability, relationships establish, and the leader changes leadership style. Beginning with a directing style, moving through coaching, then participating, finishing delegating and almost detached. At this point the team may produce a successor leader and the previous leader can move on to develop a new team.
Tuckman’s forming storming norming performing four-stage model

The progression is:

  1. Forming
  2. Storming
  3. Norming
  4. Performing

Forming :

The first stage of group development is known as the forming stage. The forming stage represents a time where the group is just starting to come together and is characterized with anxiety and uncertainty. Members are cautious with their behavior, which is driven by the desire to be accepted by all members of the group. Conflict, controversy and personal opinions are avoided even though members are beginning to form impressions of each other and gain an understanding of what the group will do together. Some believe this cautious behavior prevents the group from getting any real work done. However, the focus for group members during the forming stage is to become familiar with each other and their purpose, not on work. Typical outcomes of the forming stage include things like gaining an understanding of the group’s purpose, determining how the team will be organized and who will be responsible for what, discussion of major milestones or phases of the group’s goal (including a rough project schedule), outlining general group rules (including when they will meet) and discovery of what resources will be available for the group to use.

Storming :

The second stage of group development is known as the storming stage. The storming stage is where conflict and competition are at its greatest. This is because now that group members have an understanding of the task and a general feel for who they are as a group and who group members are, they feel confident and begin to address some of the more important issues surrounding the group. Such issues can relate to things like the group’s tasks, individual roles and responsibilities or even with the group members themselves. The storming stage is where the more dominate of the group members emerge, while other, less confrontational members stay in the comfort and security of suppressing their feelings just as they did in the previous stage. Even though these individuals stay quiet, issues may still exist. All members have an increased need for clarification. Questions surrounding leadership, authority, rules, responsibilities, structure, evaluation criteria and reward systems tend to arise during the storming stage. Such questions must be answered so that the group can move on to the next stage. Consequently, not all groups are able to move past the storming stage.

Norming :

Once a group receives the clarity that it so desperately needs, it can move on to the third stage of group development, known as the norming stage. The norming stage is the time where the group becomes a cohesive unit. Morale is high as group members actively acknowledge the talents, skills and experience that each member brings to the group. A sense of community is established and the group remains focused on the group’s purpose and goal. Members are flexible, interdependent and trust each other. Leadership is shared, and members are willing to adapt to the needs of the group. Information flows seamlessly and is uninhibited due to the sense of security members feel in the norming stage.

Performing :

At its peak, the group moves into the fourth stage of group development, known as the performing stage. The performing stage is marked by high productivity. Group members are unified, loyal and supportive. Competence in all members is seen, allowing for a high level of autonomy in decision making. Problem solving, experimentation and testing possible solutions are high as group members are focused on task completion and achievement. The overall objective of the group during the performing stage is to complete their mission and fulfill their purpose though goal achievement.

Leadership Activities at Different Group Formation Stages

Stages Activities
  • Direct the team, and establish clear objectives, both for the team as a whole and for individual team members.
  • Establish processes and structures.
  • Build trust and good relationships between team members.
  • Resolve conflicts swiftly if they occur. Provide support, especially to those team members who are less secure.
  • Remain positive and firm in the face of challenges to your leadership, or to the team’s goal.
  • Explain the “forming, storming, norming, and performing” idea, so that people understand why problems are occurring, and so that they see that things will get better in the future. Coach team members in assertiveness and conflict resolution skills , where this is necessary.
  • Use psychometric indicators such as Myers-Briggs and the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile to help people learn about different work styles and strengths.
  • Step back and help team members take responsibility for progress towards the goal. (This is a good time to arrange a team-building event.)
  • Delegate tasks and projects as far as you can.Once the team is achieving well, you should aim to have as light a touch as possible. You will now be able to start focusing on other goals and areas of work.
  • Take the time to celebrate the team’s achievements – you may work with some of your people again, and this will be much easier if people view past experiences positively.

Key Points:

Team formation usually follows easily recognizable stages, known as “forming, storming, norming, and performing.” Psychologist Bruce Tuckman, who created this memorable phrase, later added a fifth stage, “adjourning” or “mourning.” You can use Tuckman’s model to help your team reach the performing stage as quickly as possible. First you identify the stage of development that your team is at. Then, you use strategies that move your team through to the next stage in the team formation process. With focus and hard work, you’ll quickly have a high-performing team.