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these can enhance students’ cognitive learning outcomes. However, we anticipate form data in the table that a large number of students do not have an attitude to acknowledge others for their contribution. Also, a large number of students do not think that they participate actively but quietly in the group. This finding also concurs with our experiences.
The above results indicate that the reason for students’ preference in group learning may have a correlation with the influencing factors of group learning, such as group composition, task, participation and social skills. It is evident that students’ considerations for group formation relates with the reasons for students’ preference. For example, having opportunity to con-construct ideas was a strong reason for preferring a group approach which was also a consideration for students’ group formation. Similarly, issue for taking less responsibility was considered by the students in both of their preferring group learning approach and deliberation of group composition.
The findings of this study reveals that students’ preference in learning approach may have relevance with the group task. For example, students usually do not like to decide their task independently; rather they prefer mutual understanding with their teachers. This finding seems to be consistent with the notion that majority of the students do not consider ‘freedom of work’ a strong reason for preferring group learning approach.
In exploring students’ participation in group, we found that most students like to be involved in a way where one student presents the main theme and then the discussion progresses. Such a progression in discussion could be viewed as aligned with the co-construction of ideas that was considered as a strong reason in preferring an approach in group learning.
This study also exposes various social skills practiced by the group members. Some of these skills align with their preference for the group learning approach. For example, students practice the skill of ‘doing the task sincerely’ that may imply to their preference for the opportunity to work deeply in cooperative approach.
Conclusion and Implications
We have found in this study that every student do not like the same approach in group learning; some of them prefer cooperative approach, while some others prefer collaborative approach. So, when students at IER form groups to perform a task, both teachers and students need to be concerned about the student’s individual preference in group learning. If student’s individual preference is counted in selecting groups, it may be rational to expect more students’ satisfaction, and hence a better outcome from the group may possible.
This study also finds that most of the students of IER prefer a group with a mixing of high and low ability students. This finding is not consistent with literature discussed earlier. However we would argue that the difference in context may be a reason for this inconsistency. Therefore further research is recommended in this respect.
While in most cases teachers and students mutually decide about the composition of group, teachers dominate in deciding about the group task at IER. However students stress that if teachers and students mutually decide about the group task similarly as group composition, teachers’ experiences and students’ interests could be better integrated. We concur with their perspectives. Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest to teachers of IER to be more concerned in making decision about the group task. Also, as this research reveals, a significant number of students (39.5%) find the teacher’s guidance as inadequate in preparing the group task, teachers need to be more focused on providing with appropriate guidance and may monitor the group to make the activity a fruitful one.