Formal group learning

A page within CATL Teaching Improvement Guide

Brief Description 

"Formal learning groups last from one class period to several weeks, whatever it takes to complete a specific task or assignment. The purpose is to use the group to accomplish shared goals, to capitalize on different talents and knowledge of the group, and to maximize the learning of everyone in the group" (Barkley et al, 2005).


  1. Group Projects:  assignments complex enough or large and time-sensitive enough to require the effort of a group.  Some work may be done outside of class.
  2. Collaborative Learning:  classroom activities, projects, or assignments designed so that the group succeeds when every individual succeeds.  


Bazluki, M. and Hoskins, D.  (2015). Formal group learning. In Teaching Improvement Guide. University of Wisconsin at La Crosse Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning. Retrieved from