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Abstract

Group work in educational settings has several advantages, but it is also associated with some difficulties, most commonly concerns about group functioning. The aim of this study was to improve group functioning in solving realistic problems, using a combination of: 1) team skill training prior to group work; 2) peer and self-assessment to evaluate contribution to group work; and 3) lecturer-designed versus student-designed problems. The results showed positive effects on group functioning. After initial team skill training, peer assessments and moderation of marks based on those assessments stimulated the so-called free loaders to improve their contributions to group work, which is a result that has been demonstrated in only a few studies. In addition, students showed some preference for designing their own problems and they thought the learning outcomes were higher than from lecturer-designed problems.

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