Learning in Groups versus One-to-One

Which is better when learning to code?

Many studies demonstrate the benefits of both learning in a group as well as learning one-to-one. Although some teachers and parents strongly advocate for one method over another, students can benefit from both educational strategies. However, does it depend on the topic being studied? For example, which method works best when students are learning to code?

Learning to code is challenging. Although students can begin learning the basics of coding as early as preschool, many of the topics require critical thinking, logic and problem-solving. This article will discuss the benefits of learning in a group and the benefits of learning one-to-one. In the end, you can decide which method works best when learning to code.

Benefits of Group Work

“Two heads are better than one” is an adage that rings true when students are working on complex problems and creative projects. Students that embrace this type of approach to problem solving early, develop skills that will support them throughout their professional and personal lives.

Collaboration

children learning in a group collaboratively
Children learning in a group collaboratively

One of the most important life skills is the capacity to collaborate. Understanding different perspectives and approaches, delegating, negotiating, compromising and cooperating are all important and valuable skills to develop at any age. Collaboration occurs in most contemporary workplaces, so it is a valuable and useful skill to develop early. Many teachers utilize group work solely for the purpose of teaching students how to work together and listen to others’ ideas in a spirit of teamwork and collaboration.

Responsibility

Working with a group helps students learn more about planning and time management. Since group members are integral to the success of a project, it is important to schedule time to complete tasks and plan accordingly. With group work, it is also important to learn how to delegate roles and responsibilities. Understanding others’ strengths and weaknesses requires students to determine which students will be able to complete specific tasks well. Finally, when members are not meeting expectations, learning how to hold others accountable in a productive and beneficial manner is imperative for the group and the project

Communication

kids interactive group coding classes
Interactive group coding classes

While working with a group, students must understand how best to communicate ideas and opinions with others. Through discussion and explanation, students share their ideas and gain a better understanding of how to be more persuasive, expressive, or when to stay quiet and let others share. Not only do students learn more about communicating with others, but they also can learn from others. When students in a group ask questions, others can learn from those questions as well as the responses given.

Benefits of One-to-One Learning

Students can also gain many benefits from one-to-one learning. When a student works individually with a teacher, group dynamics do not play a part. Sometimes in group learning, students who are more introverted may struggle with asking questions or contributing when the rest of the group is more extroverted and seems to take over. Also, working one-to-one reduces distractions and makes it much easier to focus.

Students are Heard

benefits of one to one learning
Benefits of one to one learning

When a student is working with the teacher alone, the student is always heard. They can speak their mind, ask questions, and work at their own pace. The student essentially sets the pace of the course. If they are not ready for the next topic because they are still struggling with a concept, the teacher can provide additional assistance. Also, the student does not have to worry about being judged by others, so they can ask any question without fear of judgement. The student develops communication with the instructor that works for them, so sharing ideas, and questions and answers can be more organic and to the student’s preferences.

Less Stress

Since students control the pace and do not fear judgement, they do not experience the same type of stress associated with working with others. Typically, a bond of trust between the teacher and student develops, so that the student can freely make mistakes without fear of reprisal. And, some of the best learning takes place when mistakes are made.  Additionally, as students set their own pace, they can often cover much more material because they do not need to wait on others who may struggle with the content.

Students Rise to the Challenge

student happily working individually on a project.
Student enjoying work on an individual project

When students work individually, they don’t have to rely on others. They come up with the answers and complete all of the assignments without the assistance of others. They can’t copy answers or wait for students to respond to questions. Also, without the distraction and overstimulation of a group of peers, students are able to focus all of their attention on their instructor and the material being learned. One-to-one interactions enable students to focus their efforts and energy on school and not on the people around them.

Which Method is Better When Learning to Code?

Choosing one strategy over the other is complex. Students can benefit from both strategies and should experience both. Learning to code as noted earlier can be challenging. It requires problem-solving skills, critical thinking, logic and a motivation to learn the material.

So, when choosing a method of how to best learn how to code, the answer is whichever method works best for the student. A child may thrive in group situations and can benefit from the energy of the group. Or, the student may need one-to-one attention, so that she can learn at her own pace.

Personality and learning styles will be significant factors in determining the best approach for a particular student. Past learning experiences will also play a role. Perhaps small sized groups offer benefits of both methods. Whether you decide on group or individual learning, the important thing to remember is both will help your child learn to code.