Collaborative Learning/Stages of Group Development

Collaborative learning groups will experience different stages of interaction as they learn to work together to complete a project. These have been described as:

  • Forming - getting to know each other
    • The team gets acquainted and establishes ground rules. Formalities are preserved and members are treated as strangers.
  • Storming - struggling to determine how they will work together
    • Members start to communicate their feelings but still view themselves as individuals rather than part of the team. They resist control by group leaders and show hostility.
  • Norming - hopefully finding their niche within the team
    • People feel part of the team and realize that they can achieve work if they accept other viewpoints.
  • Performing - completing the project
    • The team works in an open and trusting atmosphere where flexibility is the key and hierarchy is of little importance.

Be prepared to assist teams through the storming phase. For some teams this will be early in the project and resolved. Other teams may storm for the length of the project.

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