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Higher Education

, Volume 55, Issue 5, pp 505–518 | Cite as

A scheme for understanding group processes in problem-based learning

  • Eva Hammar ChiriacEmail author
Article

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify, describe and interpret group processes occurring in tutorials in problem-based learning. Another aim was to investigate if a combination of Steiner’s (Steiner, I. D. (1972). Group process and productivity. New York: Academic Press.) theory of group work and Bion’s (Bion, W. R. (1961). Experiences in groups. New York: Tavistock Publications Limited.) theory of work and regression in groups may be a fruitful way to interpret and explain group dynamics in problem-based learning.

Data have been collected through a multi-strategy approach. The principal method for data gathering was qualitative. The quantitative method was used as a follow-up study. The data gathering methods used were observation, questionnaire and interviews.

The results disclose that it is possible to give a comprehensive and descriptive picture of the group processes that occur in tutorials. The results also show that a combination of Steiner’s and Bion’s theories may be a fruitful way to describe, interpret and explain group dynamics in tutorial groups. By combining the theories a scheme for understanding group processes was created. The combination, in form of a new model, can be considered as a way of developing the theories and at the same time, it offers a theoretical tool for research purposes. The combination represents a new way of categorising group processes and can hopefully provide a better understanding of interactional dynamics in groups and account for greater explanation value with respect to group processes.

Keywords

Group Group processes Education Problem-based learning Tutorial group Dynamics in groups 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author gratefully acknowledges the helpful comments made on this paper by professor Kjell Granström.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioural Sciences and LearningLinköping UniversityLinkopingSweden

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