Small group learning

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Small group learning is an educational approach. The group work has to be carefully planned and frequently requires a facilitator to ensure group progress. In addition the group function and the learning that takes place needs to be assessed and evaluated. The material learned is just as important as the group's ability to achieve a common goal. Facilitatory skills are important and require the teacher to ensure that both the task is achieved and the group functioning is maintained.

Small group learning allows students to develop problem solving, interpersonal, presentational and communication skills, all beneficial to life outside the classroom. These generic skills are difficult to develop in isolation and require feedback and interaction with other individuals.

Although this practice is not the best way for students to develop and improve on these skills there are some ways to make this effective for both the student and the instructor. According to Francine Armenth-Brothers in her Article, "How to Make Small-Group Learning Work," some things to keep in mind when implementing this practice are, do not star without directions, which would help alleviate confusion in a group. Also, the instructor should choose the members in a group and when doing so keep learning levels and student diversity in mind. [1]

Some experts have criticized small group learning, especially that which consists of extremely small groups, for reducing learn-responsibility and thereby reducing the motivation learn.[2] When learning in a group, individuals can lose sight of their learning objectives and prioritize those they have in common in others. In addition, they may be subject to the free-rider effect in groups that have a few highly skilled members.


  1. ^ Armenth-Brothers, Francine (2009). "How to Make Small-Group Learning Work" (PDF). Teaching For Success (How to Become a Win-Win Teacher Hero): 7. Retrieved 5 March 2015. 
  2. ^ J. Scott Armstrong (2012). "Natural Learning in Higher Education". Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning. 

See also[edit]

Small group communication