3. Matching & Composing groups

Matching students to cases is a crucial responsibility for you as the course coordinator. A successful match between students and case owners leads to a more enjoyable and productive experience for everyone involved. 

Additionally, forming well-balanced groups allows for the exploration of diverse interests, strengths, and weaknesses, resulting in effective teams and abundant learning opportunities. 

When matching groups, consider the following key aspects: 

  1.  required expertise for the case, 
  2. student expertise, and 
  3. the personal interests of the students. 

When composing groups, consider 

  1. group size, 
  2. students' abilities and motivation, and 
  3. the learning goals set for the course, such as interdisciplinary learning.
Methods matching Type of groups Advantages Disadvantages Key considerations
Students compose their own groups and select their own real-life cases
Possibly homogeneous groups in terms of ability and motivation
Most of the students will be motivated because of their own chosen group and own chosen case
Possibility of imbalanced groups in terms of strengths and weaknesses

Students Students select cases based on project descriptions or interactions with case owners.

Groups are formed based on student interests and preferences
Possibly homogeneous or mixed groups in terms of ability and motivation
Most of the students will be motivated because of their own chosen case
Potential for some cases to be left unselected by students
Inform the case owner about the option their case will not be chosen by the students
Course coordinator forms the groups and matches them with real-life cases, considering groups size, background knowledge, and interests/preferences 
Possibly mixed groups in terms of ability and motivation
Varied student groups;
Optimal tailored to the requirements of the available cases
A small spread of grades can be frustrating for students who usually get very good results;

Chance that students feel less motivated since they did not select the case themselves
Make sure of a mechanism for recognizing individual contributions, in order to compensate for potential frustrations

Additional tips for matching and composing groups

  • Aim for group sizes of 4-6 students, as this facilitates effective collaboration. Larger groups can work with adequate supervision and substantial tasks. Smaller groups make it challenging for students to balance enthusiasm and skills.
  • When the required expertise of students to work on the case does not match the actual expertise of the students, consider providing access to extra expertise via an external source (e.g., an academic advisor).
  • Match students to cases in which they have provided interest, otherwise, there could be a clear lack of motivation, while on the other hand, a well-matched student might perform above expectations.

By carefully considering these factors and employing appropriate matching strategies, you can create dynamic and productive student-case partnerships that enhance the Real Life Learning experience.

Want to continue with the learning activities?  

▶ Go to STEP 4: Learning Activities

Want to continue with assessment and reflection?  

▶ Go to STEP 5: Assesment and Reflection


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