Students who work in co-operative groups often do better than those who work alone, or competitively. Working in a group can provide opportunities which, as an individual learner, are not so readily available.
The following are advantages of studying in groups:
- Another member of the group may have knowledge or experience which may help you.
- A sense of responsibility to fellow students can provide good motivation and encouragement – for example, you may be more likely to do the preparation work if you know that your other group members are depending on you for one aspect of the group task
- More complex problems can be solved by breaking them down into separate tasks for group members – for example, a reading list could be shared out and group members make their notes available to others
- Group discussion sessions can often help your understanding.
- A number of skills are developed working as part of a team, such as:
(a) interpersonal skills, e.g. assertiveness, debate
(b)oral communication skills
(c) self appraisal, i.e. thinking about your own performance/contribution to the group task
- Specific skills related to the group task are also developed, such as:
(a) critical reading
(b) time management
These personal and transferable skills are what employers say they want from graduates, and in some work areas they can be more important than subject knowledge.