The development and transfer of undergraduate group work skills
This research concentrates on the experiences of a cohort of undergraduate students as they took part in two assessed group projects. The research concentrates on the following key question: In what ways were students becoming more or less able to participate effectively in group projects because of their experience of similar projects? The literature review features an extensive overview of transfer research and experiential learning, in addition to charting the rise of skills-based initiatives in Higher Education. It also reviews the available literature on experiential learning in group situations revealing a dearth of research into the specific dynamics of students groups in Higher Education. After an initial design based on quasi-experimentation, the researcher adopted a more interpretive position. A significant feature of the methodology is a reflective account of the process of social science research as experienced by the researcher. The results section describes the key dynamics around which the students made sense of group work and in turn how they framed it in terms of a learning experience. In brief, the students' accounts of group work were characterised by several main themes: the issue of control and influence over others (which the role of 'student' was perceived to limit); the reciprocal nature of group work with its potential to influence grades; the public nature of group work through which the students presented themselves to others and the discrepancies which were revealed in group work between different ways of working. The discussion places the student firmly within the learning milieu that they create as students on a particular degree course. In doing so it provides a socia-interpretive explanation of development and transfer.