Group Dynamics and Disjunction in Problem-based Contexts

  • Maggi Savin-Baden
Part of the Nurse Education in Practice book series (NEP)


One of the most important concerns when using PBL is the extent to which the groups in which students work and learn are effective. All too often, PBL is implemented within curricula with little real attention being paid to the relative costs and benefits of group-based learning. This chapter will argue that an understanding of group dynamics is vital not only for students involved in PBL, but also for the staff facilitating such groups. There is also little understanding of, or research into, the complex interplay of group and facilitator, and the way in which both change and adapt their roles and relationships as the PBL group matures. What will be presented first is an overview of the literature relating to the role of the facilitator and an exploration of whether the groups in which students learn are groups or in fact teams. The second part of the chapter will examine the notion of interactional stance and the concept of disjunction, exploring the impact of these issues upon group dynamics in problem-based contexts.


Group Dynamics Ground Rule Team Learning Effective Team Problem Scenario 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Belbin, R M (1993) Team Roles at Work, Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.Google Scholar
  2. Dolmans, D H J M, Wolfhagen, I H A P and Snellen-Balendong, H A M (1994a) Improving the Effectiveness of Tutors in Problem-based Learning, Medical Teacher, 16 (4): 369–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Dolmans, D H J M, Wolfhagen, I H A P, Schmidt, H G and Van der Vleuten, C P M (1994b) A Rating Scale for Tutor Evaluation in a Problem-based Curriculum: Validity and Reliability, Medical Education, 28 (6): 550–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Eden, C and Radford, J (1990) Tackling Strategic Problems: The Role of Group Decision Support, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Gijselaers, W H and Schmidt, H G (1990) Development and Evaluation of a Causal Model of Problem-based Learning. In Nooman, A M, Schmidt, H G and Ezzat, E (eds), Innovation in Medical Education, An Evaluation of its Present Status, New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  6. Heron, J (1989) The Facilitator’s Handbook, London: Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  7. Jaques, D (1991) Learning in Groups, London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  8. Jarvis, P (1995) Adult Learning in the Social Context (2nd edn), London: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  9. Margetson, D (1993) Education, Pedagogy and Problem-based Learning. In Viskovic, A R (ed.), Research and Development in Higher Education 14, Sydney: Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia.Google Scholar
  10. Murray, I and Savin-Baden, M (2000) Staff Development in Problem-based Learning, Teaching in Higher Education, 5 (1).Google Scholar
  11. Neame, R L B (1982) Academic Roles and Satisfaction in a Problem-based Medical Curriculum, Studies in Higher Education, 7 (2): 141–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Phillips, L D and Phillips, M C (1993) Facilitated Work Groups: Theory and Practice, Journal of Operational Research Society, 44 (6): 533–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Rogers, C (1983) Freedom to Learn for the 80’s, Columbus, OH: Charles C Merrill.Google Scholar
  14. Savin-Baden, M (1996) Problem-based Learning: A Catalyst for Enabling and Disabling Disjunction Prompting Transitions in Learner Stances?, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of London Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  15. Savin-Baden, M (1998a) Fugitives or Nomads? The Changing Roles and Relationships of Staff and Students in the Context of Global Study, Paper presented at Tomorrow’s World: The Globalisation of Higher Education, Society for Research into Higher Education Annual Conference, University of Lancaster, 15–17 December.Google Scholar
  16. Savin-Baden, M (1998b) Problem-based Learning, Part 3: Making Sense of and Managing Disjunction, British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61 (1): 13–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Savin-Baden, M (2000) Problem-based Learning in Higher Education: Untold Stories, Buckingham: SRHE/Open University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Weil, S (1989) Access: Towards Education or Miseducation? Adults Imagine the Future. In Fulton, O (ed.), Access and Institutional Change, Buckingham: SRHE/Open University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Maggi Savin-Baden 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maggi Savin-Baden

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations