A Comparison of Individual and Team Learning - Literature Review Paper Sample

Published: 2022-07-19
A Comparison of Individual and Team Learning - Literature Review Paper Sample
Type of paper:  Literature review
Categories:  Learning
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1048 words
9 min read

Students studying humanities and social sciences are among the most adversely affected group due to the mode of teaching. The debate of whether to adopt individual or team learning in the department of humanities and social sciences is one that has attracted a lot of attention in the education sector. One the one hand individual learning seems to favor specific environment while on the other hand individual learning has some shortcomings that can only be corrected by group learning.

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In his report, Lelei, (2015) discusses the benefits of individual learning by talking about the impact on the student. According to (Lelei, 2015), individual learning gives the student the feeling of importance as the student feels they are unique. It is not a hard concept to grasp because of the personal attention the student is likely to receive from the tutor. Most people appreciate the attention, and sometimes this can have profound feelings for the student (Reeve & Jang, 2006).

The impacts of individual learning are by no means a one-way relationship because the teacher benefits by setting the pace. According to Lelei (2015), personal education allows the teacher to work on his level and interest. The author also mentions that personal learning allows the teacher to customize the learning process as per their student's needs. For example, if the student is a quick learner the teacher can shorten the lessons and allow the student to begin work immediately. If the student is a slow learner, the tutor can lengthen the lessons and give further examples which relate to the topic. As Lombardi, (2007) suggests, customized learning is a real area of strength for private education because the teacher can base the examples on the student's real-life experiences. Using a person's real life experiences allows them to grasp concepts at ease (Kaufman, 2003).

The sentiments outlined in (Lelei, 2015) are almost parallel to that of (Meiramova & Zhanysbayeva, 2015). While Meiramova & Zhanysbayeva (2015) agree with the ability of personal tutorship to customize the learning process; they do acknowledge that the process is dependent on the purpose of learning. Their study focused on learning English as a foreign language using group or individual knowledge. Meiramova & Zhanysbayeva (2015) point out some benefits of personalized learning that were left out (Lelei, 2015). For example, Meiramova & Zhanysbayeva, (2015) purport that individual learning allows the student to set their own pace. There is the general pressure that comes with learning as a group. In a group setting the student might be under pressure to keep up with the rest of the group members while they may be victim to peer pressure and slow down to stay level with the rest of the group members (Boud, Cohen, & Sampson, 2014).

The benefits discussed for individual study by no means translate to failure in team learning. Even Meiramova & Zhanysbayeva (2015) have recognized the contribution made by group work in forcing the students to pull their weight together. According to (Meiramova & Zhanysbayeva, 2015), students have to study if they know they are going to participate in group work. Using this logic, it means that team learning serves as a motivation by itself. A student also reinforces a concept when they explain a concept to another. Baines, Blatchford & Kutnick, (2016) have outlined the three benefits of team leaning. According to these authors, team learning helps raise the achievement of all students involved in the group. Team learning also contributes to building positive relationships between the group members and finally, group work gives the students the experiences they need for positive psychological and social development.

Even Lelei (2015) seems to agree with Baines et al., (2016) that group work teaches cooperation between children. According to (Lelei, 2015), children of a certain age tend to benefit more from working in groups. The teacher also benefits from team learning by ensuring every child gets the lesson they need all at once. If the lessons required private education, the teacher would have had to deliver the lessons to each child separately, and that consumes a lot of resources. There is a consensus among the authors discussed so far that group work is still necessary despite the advantages presented by individual learning.

Research conducted by (Bentley & Warwick, 2013) indicated that contrary to common belief, students do prefer group work. Some of the reasons students cited for preferring to work in group work is; use of peer strength, sharing of workload, more input, developing interpersonal and teamwork skills along with the increase in confidence. Some of the disadvantages of group work is an uneven contribution, poor commitment among some group members, poor time management and low ability to contribute. The study used university students which means it is very applicable to university students. Despite the benefits and drawbacks of both types of learning. All the works reviewed reveal that the learning environment should incorporate both techniques. However, Oickle

(1980) Discovered that the current inefficiency in group learning is because the current education system emphasizes self. The classroom environment encourages competition against each other. The system rewards students based on how they performed against their classmates. Students are forced to compete for limited rewards and grades which promotes individualism. As a result, team learning cannot be useful in the current system of education.


Baines, E., Blatchford, P., & Kutnick, P. (2016). Promoting effective group work in the primary classroom: A handbook for teachers and practitioners. Routledge.

Bentley, Y., & Warwick, S. (2013). Students' experience and perceptions of group assignments. Heslington: The Higher Education Academy.

Boud, D., Cohen, R., & Sampson, J. (2014). Peer learning in higher education: Learning from and with each other. Routledge.

Kaufman, D. M. (2003). Applying educational theory in practice. BMJ, 326(7382), 213-216.

Lelei, F. (2015). The Benefits of Individual, Paired and Group Lessons in a Montessori Children's House. The University of Wisconsin. River Falls: The University of Wisconsin. Retrieved September 22, 2018

Lombardi, M. M. (2007). Authentic learning for the 21st century: An overview. Educause learning initiative, 1(2007), 1-12.

Meiramova, S., & Zhanysbayeva, A. (2015). The investigation of effectiveness of individual and group forms of learning a foreign language in Kazakhstan. Journal of Education and Culture, 382 - 393. doi:DOI: 10.15503/jecs20152.382.393

Oickle, E. M. (1980). A comparison of individual and team learning. University of Maryland, Department of Education. Maryland: University of Maryland. Retrieved September 23, 2018

Reeve, J., & Jang, H. (2006). What teachers say and do to support students' autonomy during a learning activity. Journal of educational psychology, 98(1), 209.

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