Differential impact of student behaviours on group interaction and collaborative learning: medical students' and tutors' perspectives

Maha Iqbal, Gary M. Velan, Anthony J. O'Sullivan, Chinthaka Balasooriya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Collaboration is of increasing importance in medical education and medical practice. Students’ and tutors’ perceptions about small group learning are valuable to inform the development of strategies to promote group dynamics and collaborative learning. This study investigated medical students’ and tutors’ views on competencies and behaviours which promote effective learning and interaction in small group settings.

Methods: This study was conducted at UNSW Australia. Five focus group discussions were conducted with first and second year medical students and eight small group tutors were interviewed. Data were transcribed verbatim and thematic analysis was conducted.

Results: Students and tutors identified a range of behaviours that influenced collaborative learning. The main themes that emerged included: respectfulness; dominance, strong opinions and openness; constructiveness of feedback; active listening and contribution; goal orientation; acceptance of roles and responsibilities; engagement and enthusiasm; preparedness; self- awareness and positive personal attributes. An important finding was that some of these student behaviours were found to have a differential impact on group interaction compared with collaborative learning. This information could be used to promote higher quality learning in small groups.

Conclusion: This study has identified medical students’ and tutors’ perceptions regarding interactional behaviours in small groups, as well as behaviours which lead to more effective learning in those settings. This information could be used to promote learning in small groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article number217
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Medical Education
Volume16
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Collaborative learning
  • Small group learning
  • Group interaction

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