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Group Learning Offers Great Benefits for Students

Updated: August 17, 2022 | Published: June 13, 2018

Updated: August 17, 2022

Published: June 13, 2018

Benefits of Group Work in Online Courses and Degrees copy



In most workplaces, employers will seek candidates who can work well independently as well as in groups. Group learning is often one of the first ways that people learn how to work and be productive together. Students working in groups get to experience and grow from the benefits of collaborative learning.


In this article, we will look at what group learning means and review the benefits of group work.



Source: Unsplash




What is Group Learning?


Group learning, also called cooperative learning, peer instruction, or team learning, refers to students who work together to learn. It can involve two students or more.


Group learning is most efficient when students understand they are accountable for their own work, but at the same time, they get to practice team-building and collaborative skills.


Group learning may take place within a classroom setting, outside of a classroom, and even in workplace environments.




What are the Benefits of Group Work?


There are various benefits that come along with group learning. Let’s take a look at some of them so you can see why group learning is such an important technique to try and ability to have.



Pool knowledge and skills


In a group learning setting, you get to bring together an array of perspectives, knowledge, skills, and understanding. This pool of knowledge can then be shared and make it easier to understand new topics. For example, say you have a group of three students learning together. One of them is a great problem-solver, the other one is very articulate, and the third is a creative thinker. The combination of all three skills can contribute to creating an amazing output, one that would have never otherwise existed without bringing the three students together. It can change the learning dynamic and make for a better overall experience.



Articulate ideas


When it comes to group learning, everyone has a voice. The group learning setting allows each individual member to communicate their ideas and strengthen their verbal communication skills.



Listen with intent


Students working in groups get to communicate and share their thoughts. At the same time, this means that everyone is listening to one another. As such, students in a group learning environment get to practice their active listening skills and have to listen with intent.



Broaden perspectives


There’s a lot of value in group learning because of the diverse perspectives involved. This is especially the case when it comes to group learning with students from various locations and countries around the world. For example, at the University of the People, students are enrolled from over 200 countries and territories globally. In turn, the diverse student body gets to contribute their thoughts and point of view to peers in a digital setting. This opens the door to exploring different trains of thought and ways of solving problems based on a broad array of life experiences.



Effective for critical thinking


Collaborative learning enhances critical thinking. This is because group learning fosters discussion and necessitates speaking, considering, and listening. The combination of ideas and perspectives also sparks a realm in which people get to think differently about situations and approach problems in novel ways.



Build interpersonal relationships


One of the greatest benefits that students get to reap during group learning is the relationships that they build with their peers. Developing interpersonal relationships can come naturally when learning in a group setting because everyone is working towards achieving the same goal. With the foundation of alignment in place, students can expand their conversations and get to know one another on a more personal level.



Positive learning experiences


Group learning can often provide a positive learning experience. While some students may take some time to get used to group learning, especially when they are more introverted, the reward of it will eventually pay out. These learning experiences are memorable because students don’t have to work alone. They have resources in the form of peers when they hit a roadblock and can leverage each other’s knowledge base to overcome challenges together.



Career preparation


As briefly alluded to earlier, group learning sets the foundation for many career experiences. In almost every type of job, people will be expected to work alongside or with colleagues. Group learning in school sets the stage for the ability to work as a team.



Source: Unsplash




What to Look Out for with Group Learning


Despite the immense and plentiful benefits of group learning, there are a few caveats to keep in mind when leading a group learning session or being a student taking part in one.


Here’s what to be aware of:



Learning paces


Most students have their own learning style and pace. When in a group setting, some students may pick up on things more quickly than others, which could create a bit of a divide within the group.



Control aspect


There are typically some students who possess leadership qualities naturally. They may want to take control of the group learning environment from the get-go. While this can be a benefit, it can also be detrimental to other students in the group if they feel that they can’t get a word in or be open to expressing themselves.



Introverted students


On the other hand, you may have students who are considered introverts or are shyer in a group setting. It may take an extra push of motivation to get introverted students to contribute within a group setting.



“Free Rider” issue


One of the biggest challenges with group learning and group work is when some students sit back and do nothing while they benefit from the work of the rest of the group. As an educator, one way to help overcome the free rider effect is to still grade students individually, even when they work in a group setting. You may also assign responsibility within the group learning setting individually so that everyone has their own level of accountability.




Closing Thoughts


Group learning is common in many different educational settings and also professional settings. By bringing people together with a mix of life experience and knowledge, the group can produce a greater output than any individual would otherwise be capable of doing alone.


The 3 Musketeers said it best, “All for One, and One for All!”