Students tend to free-ride more easily when there are more of them in a group—letting other students do the work for them. Students with lower achievement levels may gain from heterogeneous groupings.
Here are some creative ways to create groups:
2. Group rules:
Teacher guidelines that explicitly state ways to facilitate group participation, such as discussing alternative solutions or supporting ideas with reasons, are more likely to ensure collaboration. Educators also promote collaboration by establishing norms for group communication and modeling them.
3. Structure/activation of the task:
Collaboration is less likely to be inspired by rote learning or simple tasks. To achieve effective collaboration, the structure of the task must activate certain learning processes and mechanisms. Students should be able to demonstrate the desired performance by completing tasks that are sufficiently challenging, authentic, and novel to elicit elaborated explanations and the participation of their peers.
4. Feedback from the teacher:
It is the teacher’s responsibility to monitor the collaborative activity and to provide students with formative feedback on the quality of their collaborative effort throughout the project and at the end (Webb & Mastergeorge, 2003). A teacher should anticipate negative group behaviors, such as free riding, and keep an eye on group interactions continuously.
5. Reflection time:
Students can be asked to reflect on their individual participation as well as group processes and progress during a project. Reflections such as these can prove important for improving collaboration experiences and collecting evidence about the quality of student interactions.
6. Utilize individual skills for a collective and collaborative victory:
It is also possible to facilitate long-term communication and alleviate the effects of silos by fostering meaningful collaboration between students with different skill sets. Provide students with the opportunity to work closely together on important projects.
7. Connecting Tools:
Students can communicate wherever they are using a variety of tools out there. Convenience and efficiency are key factors when you’re trying to open up lines of communication between various groups since everyone must be on the same page.