Group Work and Student Engagement in Learning

Group work is known an effective learning method, which promote student motivation, active learning, critical thinking, decision making, and communication skills. However, without well planned and organized class room structure, group work may lead to frustration among adult learners. Particularly, such a scenario may lead to discourage active learners on their learning process. In addition, such an unorganized and unplanned group work may lead instructors to think about group work as an unproductive learning activity. This poster presents some strategies that should implement by instructors in preparing an effective group work at the class room. If an instructor intends to use group work as a learning strategy throughout his/her course, he/she should introduce group ground rules as early as possible in the course. Introduction of such group ground rules helps to prevent problems and improve group functioning in the class room.

Furthermore, instructors should take necessary steps to engage students in preparing those group ground rules. Such an enrollment in determining policies encourages students to accept basic responsibility for observing and enforcing rules. In addition, an instructor should take necessary steps to prepare a group learning contract that shows policies, procedures, and penalties regarding group work. This group work contract should be treated as a formal record that gives legitimacy to the ground rules. Similarly, it is very important for instructors to identify appropriate instructional activities. Here, an instructor should decide his/her academic and social expectations of conducting group work in the class. To achieve, student engagement in group, instructor should arrange group activities that give enough challenge for students. If not they may actively engage in group work. In addition, an instructor should take the responsibility of arranging group activities that give equal responsibility for each member of the group. In this case each group member should fell that the individual success depends on the group success.

As I mentioned on the some of my previous postings, in the context of globalization many employers expect the range of soft skills such as team work, problem solving, inter-personal skills, and communication skills. In the 21st century, graduates of post-secondary institutes should have such competencies to compete effectively in the labour market. Considering the above analysis, I would argue that conducting group work as a learning strategy may assist to develop such competencies among graduate students.




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