Modeling How Social Loafing Impacts the Small Group Process
Tiffany R. Wang & Judy Shannon

Understanding how and why some small groups function and others don’t is paramount to understanding the small group process. Many students have limited exposure to small group work and are often told that working in groups is always better than working alone. In contrast, they may have experienced frustration with group projects for their classes where individual contributions were uneven. It is important that students are exposed to factors that inhibit or promote positive group outcomes. Allowing students to model Social Loafing Theory facilitates students’ understanding of the terms and concepts that comprise the theory. This activity also provides a mental picture for students to refer to when they are being tested on the theory. Connecting behavior to theory provides a concrete link between what students learn in their textbooks and what they experience in their everyday lives. Encouraging students to propose how they would use their knowledge of the activity and Social Loafing Theory pushes students to go beyond knowledge and comprehension to application and think about the real world impact of what they learn in the classroom.

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