A-to-Z Index

 Group Learning:
Applications in Higher Education

Edited by Diane Riordan, Donna L. Street, and Bradley M. Roof

281 pages, copyright 1997

In recent years, college and university instructors have become increasingly interested in group and collaborative learning techniques, and in utilizing various group exercises in the classroom. Although a rich body of literature addresses group learning in grades 2-12, researchers have only recently begun to address this topic in the context of higher education. This volume includes a series of papers representing the current literature on the use of group learning in post-secondary education.

  • Group Learning: Strategies The opening article summarizes key components generally accepted as being necessary for effective cooperative learning. In the following four papers, the authors describe various group learning techniques such as cooperative learning, team learning, and collaborative document writing that have been successfully utilized in the higher education classroom.

  • Group Learning: Applications The authors of the five papers in this section explicitly describe methods which they have found effective, thereby allowing colleagues to transfer the methods to their own college classrooms. Methods discussed include "Think-Pair-Share", "Jigsaw", and "Dyadic Essay Confrontation".

  • Group Learning: Composition This section aids educators in determining whether students should be allowed to self-select into working groups or whether the instructor should prepare a method of group assignment. Relevant issues covered by the three papers in this section include the determination of gender mix and appropriate task assignment. The articles provide the reader with an awareness of factors to be considered when designing groups.

  • Group Learning: Performance and Retention The five articles in this section examine the effect of various treatments such as positive goal and resource interdependence, goal setting, group processing, and group exams on student achievement and knowledge retention.

The research articles in this volume provide a wealth of knowledge regarding group learning techniques that will assist college educators in fully appreciating the merits of group learning. Several of the authors indicate that much additional research is needed in this area. The editors encourage our colleagues to use, test, and report the results of adopting group learning techniques in the college classroom.