Group Work in an Online Environment

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Collaborative Learning Benefits

  • The joint inquiry of group work leads to a greater understanding.
  • Allows learners to better organize and integrate new information.
  • Learners can deal with realistic levels of complexity, difference of opinion, and group decision making.
  • Builds negotiation skills through resolution of difference of opinion

Sample Collaborative Activities

  • Case Analysis
  • Collaborative Writing
  • Peer help
  • Knowledge Base
  • Resource database
  • Peer Editing

  • Online Discussions

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Teamwork Motivation

  • Explain importance of teamwork.
  • Provide examples of good teamwork sessions.
  • Instructor involvement in teamwork is crucial.
  • Provide adequate resources for teams.
  • Celebrate exceptional work by sharing with other groups.
  • Provide quick answers to team questions.
  • Maintain enthusiasm for teamwork success
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Online Group Learning Problems - Solutions

  1. Students do not like teamwork – Tell students the benefits of teamwork
  2. Students do not like their chosen team – Select teams at random to get students outside of their comfort zone
  3. Students lack group work skills – Provide training on group work
  4. Students feel like they do all the work – Use pressure from instructor and other team members to prevent free-riders
  5. Students leave the group without completing their “part of group work” – Develop a way to assess a group without penalty from a group member leaving
  6. Students want to be assessed for their work and not penalized for others work – Use individual assessment for each member.


Kelly, R. (2015). Student collaboration in the online classroom. Retrieved from Online Classroom - Magna Publications website:

Roberts, T., & McInnerney, J. (2007). Seven problems of online group learning (and their solutions). Technology & Society, 10(4), 257-268.