Remember when the words “Story Problem” made you groan?

Well, “Group Project” is the new “Story Problem” in terms of learner groaning.

I think we need to get ready to do a lot of groaning, because learning experts Conrad and Donaldson say that one of the “Key Elements of engaged learners in an online environment” is “Students working together in groups”.

Can we get student engagement if they are un-grouped?

Sure, there are lots of other Key Elements (by Conrad, Donaldson and others); but, what is it about group work that adds to the student’s experience of the course or learning outcomes?  Do we need to look again at group work? Groan  OK, time for the old Pro/Con list


  1. Students discuss the coursework
    1. Dewey would love this because they are doing “active learning”
    2. Piaget would love this because learner-to-learner discussion is more valuable than learner-to-facilitator discussion
    3. Weigel would love this because the learners are creating their own knowledge structures


  1. Assigned work is never shared equally among members of the group
  2. Often results in group members having negative feelings for each other

Now it’s your turn – add to the Pro/Con list


Let me know if group work does not make you groan

Leave your comments below, thanks!