- Disadvantages of collaborative learning
People need to go at different speeds.
Some people need to go at different speeds while doing the lab to fully understand and absorb the information. It seems that while working in a group, someone is either slowed down or forced to catch up faster then they would like to. (Carolyn S.)
Sometimes the members in your group may work faster then others which may cause tension because no one wants to stay in lab pass 3p.m. (Monique C.)
Someone may try to take over the group.
I think that one of the biggest problems of a group situation is the balance of power. Not all people are given an equal voice in a group. Usually there is one group leader that everyone defers to. Another person takes care of the data. Some people end up feeling overlooked or unappreciated. (Anica B.)
More problems occur when one person is a control freak, not willing or able to trust the abilities of others in the group. This can again result in discord and a lack of cooperation amongst the group members. Put simply, one person can drastically affect the group either positively or negatively. (Liz W.)
Quiet people may not feel comfortable.
Some students are shy or reserved and feel awkward when working with others. (Jaclyn C.)
Often when I hear that we have to work in groups I get very uneasy. I do not always like to meet new people. I do not know how they will take my beliefs and values. (George F.)
Sometimes people just don't get along.
Sometimes people just don't get along no matter how hard they try, their personalities clash. In these cases long time lab partners would be horrible, you spend more time over coming your differences than actually doing the work. (Jenna S.)
There could be arguing with group members. When you put a group of people that have never worked together . . . personalities might lead to arguments, this would waste time and lead to an unproductive group. (Steve R.)
People may not pull their weight.
I get very angry when we all work so hard and then one person who did nothing all lab asks to get the answers. I realize that there could be multiple reasons for why this person did not pull their weight, other then that they might be lazy. However, it is a very frustrating situation. (George F)
Some group members may not contribute to the activity, therefore one or two people end up doing all the work. On the other hand, one may become too much of a leader and not involve the other group members in decisions and just run the activity his/her own way. (Kelly McC)
It is not fair!
Often times group members will not equally contribute to a task in which the whole group receives one grade. So if a member does not fully participate they may be given a grade that they do not deserve. (Christine B.)
A concept may not be understood as well if a person doesn't have to figure it out.
At times you miss things that you would learn by doing the project on your own. (Emily B.)
Sometimes peer groups get lazy and just give group members answers to a certain problem without explaining how they arrived at their conclusions. Because of this, no real knowledge has been gained. (Christine B.)
The time spent talking about irrelevant topics is unbelievable.
One last problem of group work is that sometimes nothing gets done because everyone is talking about everything but what they are supposed to be doing! (Stephanie K.)
To see the rest of the student comments, visit the Teaching Story by Cathy Middlecamp.