10 advantages and disadvantages of group work in the classroom (2023)

The use of group work in the classroom is one of the most researched and implemented teaching approaches in the world.Numerous research studiesshowed the benefits of collaborative learning on academic performance, communication skills and confidence.

However, our understanding of how group work facilitates learning and why group work is only effective in certain situations is still limited. And as with all teaching strategies, the drawbacks must be considered.

Among educators, there is a growing debate surrounding the effectiveness of group work due to the potential for laziness, uneven workload, conflict between students, and loss of focus on the task at hand. So we looked at the pros and cons of implementing group work in the classroom to determine how effective it really is.

10 advantages and disadvantages of group work in the classroom (1)

(Video) Advantages and Disadvantages of Working in Groups

5 benefits of teamwork

new perspective

The phrase “two heads are better than one” certainly has some merit. The researchers found thatwhether students are able to work togetherFor example, on a problem-solving task, they are more likely to experiment with different techniques to try to solve the problem. They can also learn faster from both positive and negative feedback.

Students also learn best by discussing and questioning each other's opinions and reasoning, as this allows them to develop different perspectives on how they might complete a task.Studies showit promotescognitive restructuring, improving academics,social and emotional learningas a result.

Personal satisfaction

Working in a group can be difficult. So, when students are able to overcome all of the conflict, stress, and long hours that come with group assignments, the end result of getting a good grade can be extremely satisfying and motivating.

Studies showthat students who contribute to the group discussion and engage with the assigned problem-solving task are very dedicated to finding a solution. When they find this solution, students report being extremely satisfied with their role in making that decision compared to students who were not as involved. This leads to a more positive description of their group learning experience.

Teamwork skills

Teamwork is a basic part of academic life.and allows students to explore complex tasks they might not otherwise have done alone, enhancing individual and collective learning. This is because working in groups exposes students to new perspectives, thinking styles, and disagreements.

(Video) Advantages and Disadvantages of group work & pairwork

This gives students the opportunity to improve their communication and collaboration skills and provides them with a greater ability to generate different ideas. Not only does this make for a more holistic approach to learning, it can also help with group productivity.

improve learning

A survey showedthat 97% of students reported that working in a group helped facilitate their learning and collaboration skills in some way. Some students suggested that group work served as a learning process in itself; that is, they learned about groups by working in groups.

The survey also showsthat group learning leads to better memory retrieval and understanding. This is because students remember group discussions more than they would if they heard the same content in a more instructive format.

However, these benefits are only felt if:

  • Clear goals are set
  • There is clear leadership
  • Each member is assigned a specific role.
  • There is equal participation of all group members.
  • The task is relevant to the program content.

Although this studywas carried out with university students, these findings are still relevant for other levels of education.

Learn to overcome conflicts

Some teachers arguethis conflict during group work can actually be a good thing, as it represents the experiences students will have in their future workplaces. By experiencing it in a more controlled environment, students learn about communication skills and how to solve interpersonal problems with more confidence.

Group work also allows students to develop a better understanding of themselves and how their peers see them. winconstructive feedbackfrom their peers about how they did an assignment and how they worked as part of a group, students are better equipped to assess their social skills and behavior.

(Video) Advantages and Disadvantages of Working in Groups, a class project.

5 disadvantages of group work

Anyone who has done group work knows that it can have its fair share of downsides. Let's take a look at why.

presence of conflict

When working with other people, it is natural for disagreements to arise due to differences of opinion. Some students find it difficult to acceptpeer reviewsand struggle to put together ideas that are not their own.

Also, quiet students often have difficulty expressing their ideas in a group and may feel uncomfortable working with people they don't normally talk to. As a result, they can be seen as lazy, creating conflicts.

Studies showthat the presence of conflict in group work can negatively impact the students' use of that class, inhibit their individual learning and increase stress levels. This is because the students thought that compromise and reach an agreement was an extremely difficult and exhausting process. This has led many students to develop a fear of conflict.

unequal participation

In group work, you will often see a large discrepancy in participation between different group members. With many group projects, it is common to find 1 or 2 students taking on most of the workload, while the other members are essentially free. This can lead to conflict and bitterness between different group members, especially if the student feels that others are being rewarded for their hard work.

Studies showThis is more evident in larger groups, as individuals tend to distribute responsibility for tasks among others, as grades often do not consider individual contribution. Other times, a student may simply give the answer to their peers without explaining how they solved it. Consequently, no real knowledge or understanding was gained.

avoiding homework

(Video) 1.6 Advantages and disadvantages of mixed-ability groups.

When working in a group, it is quite common for students to deviate from the subject, especially if the task involves a discussion. Some students may use this time to gossip, do other homework, or play. This makes the group work session lesseffective and productive.

As a teacher, it's hard to make sure everyone is doing their homework throughout the entire session, not just when you walk over to the desk to check on them. For some teachers it seems they have tomicrogestionarthe task for the task to be effective, diminishing the purpose of group work.

Waste of time

Working in a team can be time consuming as a student. Meetings should not just be scheduled outside of class time, but should be coordinated with everyone's schedule. For sixth graders in particular, this can be quite difficult due toit's already overbooked.

Researchers have arguedwhether the slow nature of group work made the strategy ineffective. As a result, more research is emerging on when not to use group work in the classroom and suggests that for simpler tasks, students complete them individually.

Individual needs are dominated by group needs.

Not all students learn at the same speed. Some may need more time to fully understand the task and process the information being taught. On the other hand, some students can grasp the material very quickly.

Therefore, when working in groups, some students are forced to accelerate their learning to the point where they do not learn anything or resort to copying. Alternatively, those working the fastest may actually be moving too fast, trying to move on to the next task before everyone else is ready. This can lead to conflicts as students can get frustrated with the learning process.

final thoughts

Group learning can be effective regardless of people's socioeconomic status or whether they are placed in a group with the same people throughout the year. However, the benefits of this active learning environment are only realized when done well.

(Video) 72. What are advantages and disadvantages of study group learners

Group size, how groups are assigned, and how the teacher manages them can have both a positive and negative impact on learning. Due to potential inconveniences, somestudies suggestthat group work should only be used sparingly, allowing simpler tasks to be done individually and more complex tasks to be done in groups.

For tips on how to engage your students in the classroom, check out our blogs on how to create one.psychologically intelligent classand why should youinsert your teaching.

10 advantages and disadvantages of group work in the classroom (3)


What are the 4 important reasons for doing group work in your class? ›

Benefits for students

Break complex tasks into parts and steps. Plan and manage time. Refine understanding through discussion and explanation. Give and receive feedback on performance.

What is the disadvantage of using groups? ›

It may be difficult to maintain confidentiality within a group. This is simply because information shared by more people is more likely to be discussed or shared further. Some individuals may withdraw cooperation, or even disrupt the group. Some people do not like being in a group situation.

What are the 3 disadvantages of co teaching? ›

On the contrary, among the disadvantages we include higher preparation requirements, its complexity in terms of co-teacher coordination, higher financial and logistical costs.

What are the disadvantages of small group work? ›

Disadvantages of group communication include unnecessary group formation (when the task would be better performed by one person), difficulty coordinating schedules, and difficulty with accountability and social loafing.

What are the benefits of group work? ›

Group work gives students the opportunity to engage in process skills critical for processing information, and evaluating and solving problems, as well as management skills through the use of roles within groups, and assessment skills involved in assessing options to make decisions about their group's final answer.

What are the benefits of group work at school? ›

Studies have shown that people learn better when they are part of a group because there is more motivation and accountability. The other benefit is that it builds a sense of camaraderie and collaboration within the group; this leads to a more collaborative environment.

Why is group work good for students? ›

People remember group discussions better. Group learning fosters learning and comprehension. Students working in small groups have a tendency to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same material is presented in other instructional formats (Barkley, Cross & Major, 2005; Davis, 1993).

What is the advantage and disadvantages? ›

As nouns, the difference between disadvantage and advantage is that disadvantage is a weakness or undesirable characteristic; a con while the advantage is any condition, circumstance, opportunity, or means, particularly favorable to success, or any desired end.

What are the advantages of group discussion in classroom? ›

Group discussions promote a deeper understanding of a topic and increase long-term retention. Group discussions can also help increase participants' attention and help maintain their focus by involving them in the learning process. Group discussions can also provide feedback to instructors on participant comprehension.

What is one disadvantage of working in a group quizlet? ›

The potential disadvantages of working in teams include groupthink (the tendency to let peer pressure overcome one's better judgment), the pursuit of hidden agendas, and the cost (in money and time) of planning and conducing team activities.

Which one of the following is a disadvantage for working in a group? ›

Some people can find difficult to accept suggestions or ideas from another person. While working in a group, there is no place for individual thinking. Discussion in a group takes time to make a final decision. In a large group it is very easy for the person to avoid work.

What are the disadvantages of classroom teaching? ›

Classroom Learning Disadvantages:

Attendance times can be restrictive or inconvenient. Shy students may have trouble approaching the instructor with questions. You usually have to sit through each lecture even if you already know most of the material. You may be required to buy compulsory textbooks.

What are the disadvantages of large group teaching? ›

In that, large classes may bring about a low intimacy level among teachers and students since the teacher, and even students themselves, do not have enough quality time to get to know each other better. Besides, this may lead to disengagement and low cooperation levels as well as fewer students' recognition.

What is negative of team teaching? ›

Demerits / disadvantages of team teaching

If the teachers do not co-operate among them then the teaching teaching may results as failure. 3. It May create confusion for some students if the team leader do not find appropriate teachers to teach a particular part of the topic.

What are the disadvantages of group presentation? ›

What Are the Cons of Group Presentations? It's challenging to work in a group when you feel like everyone isn't doing their fair share. You will always have the people who are willing to go above and beyond and those that are lazy and wait for others to do their work.

What is disadvantage of group influence? ›

Disadvantages Of Group Influence

The disadvantages include peer pressure in which people follow masses even though they knew they are mistaken, but they follow not to be left out. Such as cigarette smoking, drug-abusing, and lots more. People are impacted negatively when they keep bad company.

What are the benefits of group work for teachers? ›

Group work gives teachers a fantastic opportunity to monitor and observe as students collaborate. This enables teachers to see their students' growth in action as students apply learning and analyze situations and decisions. Teachers can offer guidance and correction as needed.

What is pros and cons advantages and disadvantages? ›

The pros and cons of something are its advantages and disadvantages, which you consider carefully so that you can make a sensible decision. They sat for hours debating the pros and cons of setting up their own firm. Motherhood has both its pros and cons.

Which is advantage pros or cons? ›

Yes, the two terms imply the same. 'Pros and cons' comes from Latin pro et contra meaning 'for and against'. It actually means 'the positive and negative aspects of an argument'. I would add that "advantages and disadvantages" is probably more formal that "pros and cons".

What is the disadvantage of classroom discussion? ›

Disadvantages of Whole Class Discussions

It can be difficult to get some groups to engage in lively discussion. Students who are uncomfortable around one another, shy, scared of saying the wrong thing, or intimidated by large groups will often sit in silence.

What do you think are the advantages of group learning? ›

In a group learning setting, you get to bring together an array of perspectives, knowledge, skills, and understanding. This pool of knowledge can then be shared and make it easier to understand new topics.

What is disadvantage of group decision making? ›

Disadvantages of the Group Decision Making

Leader Domination: Sometimes, the group leader tries to dominate the deliberation process, and the decision tends to become biased. Social Pressure: Members of the group may agree for the sake of consensus since the social pressure to conform not be the odd one out.

What are the 4 major types of group work? ›

Four types of group work are best known and most researched: collaborative learning, cooperative learning, problem-based learning (often known by its acronym, PBL) and team-based learning (also known by its initials TBL). From the get-go, definitional confusion about these types has prevailed.

What are three reasons why groups can be important? ›

At their best, being part of a group provides social connections, friendship, and practical and emotional support. They can help us see the world in new ways and provide needed perspective.

What is the main purpose of a working group? ›

A working group consists of people who bring the specialist skills and expertise you need to a project. The working group could be several individuals with lived experience of mental health problems or a combination of staff and individuals with lived experience.


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