It seems that the recent trend toward online education has created a severe deficit among students. Part of the fundamental goal of any learning environment is the development of skills related to team-building and cooperative work. These are real-world skills that are important to have in almost any real-world situation. The student’s comment about cooperative learning is a common complaint, but the troubles cited by the student are typical of real-world cooperative situations.
The usual complaints by students about cooperative learning projects include logistics issues, gaps in vision and leadership, difficulties in equitable workload assignment, and other elements. All of these problems are ones that may be encountered in the modern working world. I would design the curriculum with group projects integrated. I would also include a learning objective that emphasizes the importance of the cooperative learning, given its application to the real world.
If the quality of the projects suffers as a result of the learning format, the learning gap(s) that may have developed may be resolved by reinforcing exercises that are individually-based. In this manner, the subject matter will be adequately addressed, and the important group-work skill can also be practiced. I would also recommend additional courses on team-work and the cooperative dynamic be added to the curriculum.
Whether for a school or a work environment, it is vital that students be taught or trained to appreciate the importance of effective teaming, as this will be a key element in any real-world work environment. This course could incorporate coping and procedural skills that address the typical difficulties involved with cooperative projects. Objectives might include how to divide labor, how to determine a vision, how to organize leadership, and how to handle logistic difficulties. The sooner students learn these skills, the more productive and successful they will be.