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Students who learn outside their study groups do better

Students who extend their learning beyond their internal study groups, are more successful than those who rely solely on established groupings, according to an OU academic.

In a paper, Turning groups inside out: a social network perspective, published in the Journal of the Learning Sciences (30 October 2017), Bart Rienties, Professor in Learning Analytics, reports his findings from among 693 participants from three undergraduate and one post graduate module.

Professor Rienties’ most important research finding was that those students who reported more interactions with students outside their assigned group who are studying the same module, performed better on their module assessments than those who reported that their main learning interactions were with internal groupings.

According to Professor Rienties, this challenges 40 years of research into group learning:

Over the last 40 years, there has been a large body of research that shows that students learn well in groups, but this is the first time that we can prove empirically that those students who reach out and make external links, are more successful.

Professor Rienties’ research is at the forefront of the OU’s world-leading research into learning and teaching and its position as a thought leader on future trends in education.

Read Turning groups inside out: a social network perspective.

Read more about Professor Rienties’ research.

Read about OU research in Technology Enhanced Learning.

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