The new group-think

How often have you heard something akin to the following: “to succeed in our fast-paced, constantly changing, interconnected world, students must excel at teamwork and collaboration”?

Have universities placed too much emphasis on group projects?

As Susan Cain notes in this article:

Decades of research show that individuals almost always perform better than groups in both quality and quantity, and group performance gets worse as group size increases. The “evidence from science suggests that business people must be insane to use brainstorming groups,” wrote the organizational psychologist Adrian Furnham. “If you have talented and motivated people, they should be encouraged to work alone when creativity or efficiency is the highest priority.”

How do group-projects square with notions of student-centered learning? Do most students think “Alright!! Group project!!” or do they tend to elicit a collective groan? Do group projects provide students better learning opportunities than solo projects?


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