Various different kinds of tasks can be completed in a group context: indeed, any task that might draw on a range of abilities or approaches; might require effort over and above an individual; or involves a practical task, discussion or roleplay. As well as learning from the task itself, students will develop skills in problem solving, team working/leadership, and negotiation, all of which are valuable in the workplace.
Group work can, however, become a negative experience for students if they feel that their own performance is being hampered by the wider group. This is especially true if groups are left to form and run themselves, and if all marks are awarded to the group as a whole. Good group work assignments should therefore positively target these two areas by providing advice and training in group work and roles; allowing students to pick or vote on roles; and including opportunity for individual as well as group performance and assessment.
Preparation time Student workload Marking time
Literacies and skills exhibited
One and two-way communication; communication within a group
Working co-operatively, managing time and tasks
Researching, investigating, interpreting and organising information
Both the output and the process of group work can be marked. The output might be presented in the form of a presentation, demonstration or roleplay (see linked guides for marking and feedback notes for each), or in the production of an artifact (report, document, video, website, physical product, etc.). The process can be observed if group work happens within timetabled sessions; can be obtained by asking students to submit a reflective piece that documents their own input to the process and how effective they were in the overall task; or can use another method where students assess their own or their peers’ contribution.
See linked guides above for appropriate feedback methods.
Group work guidance for students (University of Leicester)
Guide to time involved in preparation, marking, and student workload: Low Medium High