Teaching Strategies: Using Group Work and Team Work

Cooperative learning involves having students work together to maximize their own and one another’s learning (Johnson, Johnson & Smith, 1991). This page provides resources about cooperative learning, designing effective small group activities, and guidance for creating and sustaining effective student learning groups in engineering and lab courses.


  • Guidelines for Using Groups Effectively (pdf) - This document provides advice and practical strategies for facilitating group work in the classroom, including a checklist for preparing, implementing, and debriefing group work.
  • Group Work in an Introductory Science Laboratory (Cooper, from Guidebook for Teaching Labs for University of Michigan) - Introductory science laboratories in the university setting often have to rely on the utilization of groups to efficiently use resources that are available. Includes ideas for group work by the students, with small group-instructor interaction, as an effective way to present material in the introductory laboratory.
  • CRLT Occasional Paper on Using Teams - This summary of the research covers topics such as designing effective team assignments, forming teams, and assessing student teams. The paper includes numerous examples from U-M faculty. While it is focused on STEM classrooms, the practical advice it contains is relevant to any instructor considering the use of groups or teams.
  • Using Group Projects Effectively - Carnegie Mellon University's Eberly Center offers a wealth of tools for creating, monitoring, and assessing groups during group projects. 
  • Setting Up and Facilitating Group Work: Using Cooperative Learning Groups EffectivelyVanderbilt University's Center for Teaching provides a research-based overview of informal and formal cooperative learning groups as well as approaches for setting up, monitoring, and assessing group work effectively.
  • Team-Based Learning Collaborative - The Team-Based Learning Collaborative is an organization of educators from around the world who encourage and support the use of Team-Based Learning (TBL) in all levels of education. The webpage hosts a variety of TBL instructional resources as well as research on TBL. Becoming a member grants the user access to a wider array of resources.
  • CRLT Bibliography on Cooperative Learning, Group Work, and Teamwork - A comprehensive list of resources on the effectiveness of cooperative learning, group work, teamwork, and best practices. Many of the articles are available to U-M faculty and GSI.
shadow