Both individual and group activities have their pros and cons in the education sector. Students should be assigned a combination of both types of homework to make effective use of them.

Should the students be given an individual assignment or group assignment? This is a troubling question in teaching circles around the world. At higher levels of education, this question is more important for the effective learning of the students.

According to the experts in the field, the answer to this question depends on a variety of different factors. Both individual and group assignments have their benefits for the students. In some cases, the individual assignment is best for gauging student understanding and comprehension while in other scenarios, group assignments help test a person’s abilities and skills.

A group assignment is a piece of work that is assigned to more than one person. The assigned individuals are required to work in collaboration with each other to fulfill the requirements of the assignment or project.

Whereas, in individual assignment, one particular student is responsible for the entire work requirements. He or she is the one in charge and will be graded for his or her efforts individually.

Whether the assignments are group or individual, it is important that a balanced approached is adapted to assign them. Too many assignments of either type can lead to ineffectiveness in the learning process. The students start to get bored and disinterested in completing their assignments with quality works.

Like already mentioned in the above text, both group and individual assignments have their own set of benefits and drawbacks. Below is a brief description of both to help assess a balance between the two.

Advantages of group assignments:

  • Students should be given assignments in groups when the number of students in the class is high and the teacher wants to gauge the capabilities of all the students
  • Group assignments help teachers reduce their workload, as they are required to check a fewer number of assignments and grade them collectively.
  • The assignments given in groups should be assigned to students in teams of 4 to 5 students. A larger number of students in one group can reduce the effectiveness of the homework process.
  • Assignments given in groups help students learn teamwork and making efforts in collaboration with others. They understand the importance of synergy and how efforts of a few individuals can lead to a better outcome.
  • Group assignments help students learn to manage their communication skills with others and learn to cope with other personalities. It gives lessons about conflict management and the practical importance of flexibility and compromise.
  • When there are a number of students working together, they get to learn from each other’s skills and experiences.
  • Students are able to develop social groups and polish their networking skills for future learning activities.
  • In any class, there are different types of students. Some are more intelligent and learned than others. Working in groups allows weaker students to learn from the brighter ones.

Advantages of individual assignments:

  • The teacher is able to assess the understanding and performance of the student on an individual basis. In group assignments, teachers cannot pinpoint the work of any one student and grade it.
  • Students too are benefitted as they are given full recognition and appreciation for their own work.
  • The inconsistency of work that can occur in group assignments is ruled out when all the work is done by one person.
  • Group work can waste a lot of time in non-productive discussions, loss of focus, social interaction, and conflicts. In individual assignments, the student is more in control of the time and how to utilize it productively.
  • Individual assignments allow the student to make important decisions about the project without the interference of others.
  • When a student completes an assignment all on his own, he or she passes through a greater learning experience than he or she would in a group assignment where work will be distributed.
  • Students learn to take up the responsibility of their own work and activities which is not so in group assignments where responsibilities are shared with others.

So these were some of the main advantages of group assignments versus individual assignments. Both types of homework are good for the student but there needs to be a balanced approach between the two.

Students of higher degree programs need to learn teamwork and adopt a flexible group environment to get prepared for future professional lives. At lower educational levels, individual assignments are more suitable and productive in the effectiveness of the learning process.

Therefore we see that whether the assignments are group or individual, it depends on the students and the teachers how well they use them to enhance educational productivity.

Author Bio: These advantages of a group and individual assignments have been compiled by Samantha Ellen. She is a writer at Assignment Square and is currently working on her post-graduate degree.