The Effect of Group Projects on Content-Related Learning

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Collaborative learning, Peer-learning, Social loafing, Group projects, Assessment of learning outcomes, Rasch measurement


Business schools often assign student group projects to enhance student learning of course content and to build teamwork skills. However, the characteristics of effective collaborative learning tasks, including group goals and individual accountability, are often not found in student group projects assigned in business classes. The current research found that content learning was actually inhibited by the use of a group project. The results indicate that the students who completed a project in groups learned less of the project-related content than did students who completed a shortened version of the project individually. The characteristics of business school group projects, peer-learning projects, and group projects in the workplace are compared and contrasted. Implications for program and course design are discussed.