Indiana University

How can I create collaborative learning opportunities and facilitate group work?

Learning in groups takes place in many ways, from the simple short in-class activity to the semester-long project. Instructors will want to consider simple replacements for in-class group activities, such as posting examples to group discussion forums. For semester-long projects, instructors may consider setting up Oncourse project sites for each team.

Key considerations include the expected time duration of the activity, types of resources needed to complete the activity, and extent of expected communication among group members.

As with in-class activities, communicating learning objectives and concrete goals will help students focus on the outcomes. However, in a classroom, instructors can circulate and provide live feedback on group progress. The way instructors check student progress will likely change if activities and deliverables, such as team presentations, must be moved outside the classroom. Instructors may consider using discussions to bring groups back together as a class, or they may use technology that allows groups to perform live or recorded presentations for class. Finally, some tools such as Oncourse Wiki would allow groups or individuals to post deliverables, from simple answers to questions to more complex presentations created with Microsoft PowerPoint or Adobe Presenter, for the whole class's review and comments.

Resources useful for managing collaborative learning or group activities:

Instructors can get help using technology in their teaching at the teaching and learning centers on each campus; see How do I contact the teaching and learning centers at each IU campus?