Small group work: dodging potential pitfalls to reach the pedagogic possibilities

  • Charlie Smith LJMU
Keywords: small group work, learning context, student interaction, student experience


Small group work is a common learning format in higher education.  Whilst numerous positive learning outcomes are associated with this approach, there are also pitfalls scattered along the way that can undermine the entire process.  In this Viewpoint paper, I reflect on my experiences of teaching a small group work module.  It discusses new strategies I have employed to nurture communication and interaction within the student groups, and considerations I took when constructing them.  My challenge was to build a positive socio-cultural context for learning to take place, as the learning environment can exert considerable influence on the experiences students have whilst trying to work cooperatively with their peers.