First individually, then as a group

Author(s): Klas Karlgren

Affiliation(s): Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Date of publication: June 29, 2016

The Educational Problem

The educational problem concerns the phenomenon of individuals being influenced by their peers at the expense of individual views and the risk for uncritical agreement in groups.

This pattern was originally developed in the context of courses involving simulation-based training of teams in healthcare but can probably be useful in many contexts where a group of learners analyze something such as an activity that they have just taken part in.

  • Immediate group discussions following on simulations may influence perceptions of the preceding activity and thereby hinder the creation of personal analyses by each individual.
  • The team does not utilize its potential capacity of learning from each of its members. There may be uncritical agreement among team members. Members may not be aware of other members’ views. Some students may be quiet while others dominate and not get the chance to speak their voice.

The Solution

Therefore, promote knowledge practices which allow individual activities preceding collaborative ones. Following each simulation, encourage participants to first create individual analyses and only later share, discuss and negotiate these collaboratively. Let each individual first create an individual assessment/evaluation following each practical exercise (simulation). These are shared in public and then the team attempts to reach a common view.

The Context

  • Works best in the beginning of courses when participants have not yet developed a common language.
  • This pattern may be too complicated and time-consuming and therefore not appropriate in every context. Learners may also feel that they want to talk freely before engaging in personal assessments rather than reflect individually.

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