Learning teams in higher education executing a collaborative assignment are not always effective. To remedy this, there is a need to determine and understand the variables that influence team effectiveness. This study aimed at developing a conceptual framework, based on research in various contexts on team effectiveness and specifically team and task awareness. Core aspects of the framework were tested to establish its value for future experiments on influencing team effectiveness. Results confirmed the importance of shared mental models, and to some extent mutual performance monitoring for learning teams to become effective, but also of interpersonal trust as being conditional for building adequate shared mental models. Apart from the importance of team and task awareness for team effectiveness it showed that learning teams in higher education tend to be pragmatic by focusing primarily on task aspects of performance and not team aspects. Further steps have to be taken to validate this conceptual framework on team effectiveness.