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Processes of decision-making in small learning groups

Learning and Instruction Volume 13, Number 3 ISSN 0959-4752 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This article focuses on possible interactions of students’ inter-individual differences and features of cooperative learning. In a first study the uncertainty- vs. certainty-orientation of 209 students (88 male, 121 female; age 13–14) in nine classrooms (8th grade) of two schools was assessed. Three uncertainty-oriented and three certainty-oriented students were selected in each classroom. In varying sequences they solved three tasks (subject matter: German, social studies, mathematics) first individually, than in orientation-homogeneous groups of three. While there were almost no differences in decision-making between uncertainty-oriented vs. certainty-oriented learners during individual sessions, learning in small groups instigated significant differences. These differences diminished with an increased structure/certainty of learning tasks. In a second study 138 students (52 female, 86 male) in all 12th grade classrooms of three schools learned for six weeks according to a modified ‘Jigsaw Puzzle Technique’. At one of the schools the teachers did not implement the cooperative model completely, but tried to stay ‘in control’. This had consequences for the study’s ability to observe students in situations of uncertain and certain learning tasks, but the researchers were able to include this school for testing critical variables.


Huber, G.L. Processes of decision-making in small learning groups. Learning and Instruction, 13(3), 255-269. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved December 9, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Learning and Instruction on January 29, 2019. Learning and Instruction is a publication of Elsevier.

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