Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
STEM Education & Professional Studies
Instructional Design & Technology
Ginger S. Watson
Gary R. Morrison
Linda S. Bol
Group work has become increasingly important within adult education as educators strive to present students with problems and processes that they encounter in their professional lives. In many work environments, individuals are expected to function as a part of a team to solve complex problems. Consequently, there has been a shift towards teaching students how to solve problems as part of a group rather than individually. An important question becomes "What size group maximizes students learning?" This study compared student learning, student participation levels, and mental effort for middle-aged, professional students in large (six students) and small groups (three students) while working in a collaborative, ill-structured problem solving environment to determine if group size impacted student performance. This study found that there was no significant difference in learning, participation, and mental effort between large and small groups. It also confirmed earlier research demonstrating that group product scores, even when adjusted for student participation, did not predict individual student learning. A multiple regression was used to determine if group size, participation, mental effort or group scores could be used to predict individual student learning. The study showed that for middle-aged professional students, group size, mental effort, participation, or group quality were not effective predictors of student learning.
Roemmich, Gary L..
"The Effects of Group Size on Student Learning, Student Contributions, \Mental Effort, and Group Outcomes for Middle-Aged Adults Working in an Ill-Structured Problem-Solving Environment"
(2013). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Dissertation, STEM Education & Professional Studies, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/389h-9b08