To develop group skills, students need to do more than just complete group tasks. Along the way, they need to reflect on group processes. Your course should provide opportunities for structured reflection.
The benefits of reflection are clear. Students, when they have a chance to reflect, are more likely to:
- identify areas and skills they can improve on in future tasks
appreciate and articulate the particular skills involved in group work relevant to
- approach challenges in groups positively and constructively
- transfer their learning of group processes to other contexts
- produce group outcomes of a higher standard.
You can introduce informal opportunities for reflection, or build them into assessment (see Assessing by Group Work) . Students can reflect individually or in groups, and the processes and products of group work are ideal topics. Organise the timing of reflective activities so that students can apply what they learn from reflection to future tasks.
Use the following adaptation of Kolb’s learning cycle to guide your development of students’ group work skills. The cycle involves 4 main steps: Do, Reflect, Form Principles and Plan.
Adapted from David A. Kolb (1983). Experiential Learning: experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Financial Times/Prentice Hall.