Trialogical learning, a collaborative and iterative knowledge creation process using real-life artefacts or problems, familiarizes students with working life environments and aims to teach skills required in the professional world. We target one of the major limitation factors for optimal trialogical learning in university settings, inefficient group work. We propose a course design combining effective group working practices with trialogical learning principles in life sciences. We assess the usability of our design in (a) a case study on crop science education and (b) a questionnaire for university teachers in life science fields. Our approach was considered useful and supportive of the learning process by all the participants in the case study: the students, the stakeholders and the facilitator. Correspondingly, a group of university teachers expressed that the trialogical approach and the involvement of stakeholders could promote efficient learning. In our case in life sciences, we identified the key issues in facilitating effective group work to be the design of meaningful tasks and the allowance of sufficient time to take action based on formative feedback. Even though trialogical courses can be time consuming, the experience of applying knowledge in real-life cases justifies using the approach, particularly for students just about to enter their professional careers.
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