Alan Stoskopf


Jane Lohmann, Joan Dolamore

Date of Award


Date Accepted


Degree Grantor

Northeastern University

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department or Academic Unit

College of Professional Studies, School of Education


education, higher education, teacher education, group learning, higher education, phenomenological study, students' perceptions, teamwork, unpredictable


Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research


Group learning is widely considered throughout literature to be an effective method of learning; however, there is also evidence for the claim that there is often a significant gap between theory and practice. The current highly competitive climate in higher education, combined with skyrocketing tuitions and increasingly vocal accountability and consumerism movements, makes this an ideal time for colleges and universities to examine how their students perceive group learning activities and take steps to reduce or eliminate this gap. This phenomenological study conducted in-depth one-on-one interviews with six senior undergraduate business students at a major research university in the northeast United States (referred to throughout as"Research University ") to gain an understanding of how they perceived their group learning experiences. The two research questions guiding this study were: 1) What group learning experiences have proven effective in meeting the learning needs of each member of the group? and 2) What factors either enhance or diminish the overall utility for each individual member of the group? Attentively listening to the respondents and employing three underpinning components of phenomenological inquiry 1) bracketing 2) horizonalization and 3) iterative analysis, allowed this researcher to go beyond just identifying factors that enhanced or diminished the overall utility for each individual member of the group and discern an all-encompassing commonality, or the essence of group learning experiences. Although the students acknowledged several benefits of group learning, they were significantly more vocal regarding the aspects that negatively affected them. The degree to which the students expressed a fear of the unpredictable that arises from group work was the most prevalent finding of this study.

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Rights Information

copyright 2012

Rights Holder

Nancy Yorra

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