Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Practitioner Research Project Report submitted as part of PG Diploma in Third Level Learning and Teaching, TU Dublin, 2019.


The ability to work effectively as part of a group is an expected skill of any graduate, and is regarded as highly desirable criteria for employability (Mellor, 2012; Rutherford, 2015). Through collaborative work, students learn from each other while also developing their interpersonal skills. Many students who enter higher education (HE) do not realise the demands of their programmes, and their first year experience usually has a strong influence on their entire college life (Ginty, 2001). It is estimated that 20-30% of first year students do not progress to the second year of their programmes (NSCRC, 2014); this finding requires further investigation in order to identify and address some of the challenges that first year students encounter. Along with academic challenges, first year is also regarded as being socially challenging. Group work has been recognised as having both academic and social benefits (Chiriac, 2014). Although it can be daunting for students and facilitators alike, group work allows specific skills to develop, encourages students to become engaged with their programmes and can enhance student retention levels. There are both benefits and drawbacks to group work, and such systems should be well planned out and implemented appropriately (Bourner, Hughes & Bourner, 2001, Hodges, 2017). This project report captures best practice in planning and implementing groupwork for first year undergraduate students.