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Forcing students into intercultural working groups works

VU International News and Reviews No. 22 February 03 2014

February 2014

In the latest issue of the Journal of Studies in International Education, researchers from the UK report on a quasi-experimental study of 2 × 69 students, in one condition the students were randomly allocated to groups by staff and in the other, students were allowed to self-select their group members.

The results indicate that students in the self-selected condition primarily selected their friends from a similar cultural background. The learning networks after 14 weeks were primarily predicted by the group allocation and initial friendships. However, students in the random condition developed equally strong internal group relations but more “knowledge spill/overs” outside their group, indicating that the random condition led to positive effects beyond the group.

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