Are "teams" a meaningful unit of learning? LO13653
Fri, 16 May 1997 15:58:59 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO13603 --

I thought I would jump in and add to the comments on when a group is
better than an individual in decision-making. It is true that the
research generally supports the fact the groups are superior to even the
best individual with a complex problem if certain conditions prevail.
These conditions include heterogeneous group members, members have
complementary skills, they can and do freely share ideas, and good ideas
are accepted. An important "if." Perhaps we need to include
consideration of these conditions in our discussions.

Interestingly, research has also shown that on poorly-structured, creative
tasks, individuals perform better than groups. Studies have looked at the
effectiveness of individuals and brainstorming groups and find that
individuals are far more productive than groups in the quantity and
quality of solutions. The main explanation for this is that many
individuals feel inhibited by the presence of others, don't want to appear
foolish, people quickly accept one solution, social loafing, etc....

The way I always try to get the best of both is to provide some structure
for team interaction (or allow the team to learn and practice that for
themselves using reflection, advocacy and inquiry skills, etc) and/or
allow time for individuals to be "creative" before they start to work as a

Just some thoughts...



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