Group Dynamics in Educational Settings


Although people can thrive independently, few of them choose to be alone. The majority of individuals prefer to grow and thrive as part of a team in various settings, such as schools and religious activities. In higher education institutions, group dynamics are efficient since they enhance interactive learning. An excellent understanding of concepts and developments of an inclusive environment enables groups to showcase maximum performances and output. The current research aims to identify the crucial challenge experienced during gender inclusiveness and the teacher or leader interventions required. In the study, three hypotheses are formulated and tested using sets of student performance. The data sets obtained from various universities in the US were categorized in a series of hybrid, individual, and group assessments. The findings indicate a significant difference between male and female student performance in group activities. In addition, team leader interventions in the formation of gender-inclusive teams play an essential role in improving the performance and output of the group. The research explores collaborative learning dynamics, gives insights and contributes to the higher education information and literature. Higher education institutions can also adopt the results from the study to create a successful implementation of teams within the institution.


Group dynamics refers to the interaction between individuals or group members within a social setting. It involves interaction procedures, ways of decision-making, team pressures, and techniques for meeting the group’s needs (Gordy et al., 2020). Individuals join groups for various reasons, such as security, affiliation, self-esteem, and status. Moreover, group dynamics has five development stages: forming, storming, performing, and adjourning. Teamwork and collective learning are essential aspects experienced within higher education in the US. These aspects are vital in developing the qualities, knowledge, and skills necessary for student’s well-being. The development of more interactive learning spaces equipped with modern technology is stirred by previous studies and research, which have identified a positive correlation between group learning and student qualities (Lin & Shih, 2018). The design of an interactive learning space allows collaboration between teams and peers. It also allows the students to better manipulate its configuration and styles to accommodate their group activities.

Although interactive learning spaces are equipped with the desired modern structure that enhances the success of collaborative activities, team leaders and instructors still perform a vital role in providing efficient collaborative learning (Lin & Shih, 2018). Teams should be encouraged to work closely on team activities to create efficient communication, critical thinking, and decision-making. Some factors such as group size, individual selection methods, scheduling, and the challenging nature of the tasks affect teamwork; however, higher education has overlooked the influence of gender inclusivity in its literature (Lin & Shih, 2018). The methods used, results, limitations, and discussions are explained in this research; furthermore, suggestions for further research are identified.


The current study created a research framework based on group dynamics and group activity theories. This research selected higher education courses, including personal and group assignments as well as final exam projects. The collected data on student performance was used to test the three stated research hypotheses. Three hundred and sixty students, including 156 females and 204 males, participated in the research; all were in-between years two to four of their studies (Arashpour et al., 2020). The student median and the interquartile ranges (IQR) are expressed in the table below;

N= 360 Median Marks
Female 43.33%, Male 56.67% (Interquartile Range 25%-75%)
Individual project 87(75.6-75)
Final Exam 81(76-88)
Group Assignment 81(68.5- 86)
Total Score 83(72.2-87)

Development of Hypothesis

Previous studies have identified the significance of the group developments and dynamics in higher education. The studies have also provided proof of the correlation between individual characteristics within the group and their ways of working since it enhances self-efficacy and motivational beliefs. However, these researchers have not considered specific learning elements between male and female students (Arashpour et al., 2020). Determining different characteristics between genders in higher education requires testing a research hypothesis. The first step is to identify differences in performances between male and female students in a collaborative learning space. The first hypothesis developed for the study was as follows:

H1: There are no significant differences between male and female students in collaborative activities.

Some factors that significantly influence the performance of a group include the method of group formation and how members are identified. Groups can be self-selected, leader-selected, or hybrid. When the members are allowed to select themselves, close friends are more likely to be chosen. On the other hand, the leader-selected groups may be chosen randomly based on the student assignments (Arashpour et al., 2020). However, both the group formation methods do not consider the personal performance of the members, which could influence group performance; hence a research hypothesis was developed as follows;

H2: Group performance in activities is not correlated to individual performances on assignments.

Finally, the third null hypothesis incorporates both H1 and H2. Leader intervention can influence team formation since the leader can identify members based on the required knowledge and skillsets (Arashpour et al., 2020). This could be efficient, especially when assignments require early completion. However, most studies have overlooked the imbalances that may arise due to leader intervention during group formation hence the need for a research hypothesis development.

H3: Leader intervention in the formation of gender-inclusive groups does not significantly impact the group’s performance.

Results and Analysis

A total of 360 individual and group student marks were selected and analyzed. The first hypothesis (H1) proposed no significant differences between male and female students in collaborative activities. In the first step of testing the hypothesis, descriptive statistics such as the median and the interquartile range (25%-75%) were utilized to analyze the collected data. Inferential statistics, including the P-values, effect size, and the t-test, was also used to interpret the group trends in-depth (Arashpour et al., 2020). The inferential and descriptive statistics results rejected H1 and proved a significant difference between the performance of male and female students in a group.

The second hypothesis proposed no correlation between the group and individual performances on assignments. However, the results showed that individuals who achieved higher in personal exercises (with results more significant than 85%) performed better in group activities (Arashpour et al., 2020). The obtained results rejected H2 and proved a relationship between the performance on individual assignments and group performances. Students’ performances were put against their genders to determine the third hypothesis. The results showed that both the median and the IQR of the female students were higher than their male counterparts. From the conclusion of the H2 and H1 hypotheses on the correlation between group and individual performance, it is concluded that leader interventions play a significant role in maximizing gender inclusivity during student group formation.


Although student experience in group exercises and collaborative learning has been the primary focus of many research studies, few have considered factors such as gender inclusivity and selection methods in collaborative learning. The main objective of the current research is to bridge the gap through the analysis of individual and group performances of students within tertiary institutions. The obtained results were used to test three research hypotheses on differences between individual and group performances of genders in higher education. The study utilized both descriptive and inferential statistics to analyze the collected data. The results found that the female students performed better than their male counterparts in collaborative assignments. This could lead to forming an all-female team to obtain higher marks in group assignments.

During the study, there were several limitations; firstly, data was collected using the sampling technique, which may involve bias, leading to erroneous conclusions. Secondly, the students who participated are between the second and fourth year of their undergraduate program; hence, the study results may not apply to a different population. The study could also lack a high internal validity due to the population size adopted.

There is a need for further research and studies on the significance of leader interventions on student experiences within collaborative learning spaces. This is crucial since higher institutions are likely to link leaders’ performance to experience surveys and research. Furthermore, future studies and research should utilize the longitudinal technique to monitor the effects of gender inclusiveness in teamwork relating to graduates’ alumni and professional success.


Arashpour, M., Kamat, V., Bai, Y., Wakefield, R., & Abbasi, B. (2018). Optimization modeling of multi-skilled resources in prefabrication: Theorizing cost analysis of process integration in off-site construction. Automation in Construction, 95, 1-9.

Arashpour, M., Lamborn, J., & Farzanehfar, P. (2020). Group dynamics in higher education: impacts of gender inclusiveness and selection interventions on collaborative learning. Claiming identity through redefined teaching in construction programs (pp. 42-60). IGI Global. Web.

Gordy, X. Z., Carr, E. O., Zhang, L., & Bailey, J. H. (2020). A multi-disciplinary mixed-methods study of group dynamics in an active learning space. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 20(3), 33-48. Web.

Lin, C. H., & Shih, J. L. (2018). Analyzing group dynamics of a digital game-based adventure education course. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 21(4), 51-63. Web.

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