Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

CLINED 703 - Learning in Small Groups

15 Points

Semester 2


This course explores how clinicians operate as members and leaders of groups, and the conditions underlying effective group function both in education and the workplace.

This is a 15 point elective course for all the clinical education programmes. It is offered in Semester 2 and is an online course (with a 1 day workshop).  The course guide provides a condensed overview of the content with a reading list.



Aims of the course

The primary aim of this course is to help clinical teachers facilitate learning through small groups. Students will first learn how small groups function and then about methods for facilitating small group learning. The course is practically focused and considers ways of conducting, reflecting upon and evaluating small group activities.

The course encourages students to build on their own experiences and practice with small groups, to consider relevant theories of learning and group dynamics, and to develop new skills that can be applied to their teaching and learning environment.


Learning outcomes

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Apply the theory underpinning small group teaching and learning
  • Evaluate the functions, roles and approaches to facilitation for small group learning
  • Design and plan small group sessions
  • Justify methods relevant to their small group teaching and learning
  • Apply strategies to address problems in small group learning
  • Justify approaches to evaluation of small group sessions


Content outline

  • Introduction to small group learning
  • Understanding how groups work
  • Planning for group work
  • Learning activities for small groups
  • Facilitating groups
  • Learning in teams
  • Small to large groups
  • Evaluating groups



The workshop will be on Thursday 15 August 2019. Attendance at the workshop is strongly recommended. It will allow students to explore aspects of small groups, experience some of the methodologies and gain insights into roles within groups.



There are three assignments. All the assignments will relate to the student’s own clinical teaching context.


Learning resources

Students will be provided with an online course guide providing administrative details, some teaching and learning materials/course notes and a reading list.

The recommended course book is:

Jaques D, Salmon G. Learning in Groups: A Handbook for Face-to-face and Online Environments. 4th ed. Oxon: Routledge/Taylor & Francis; 2007.This can be found at the University of Auckland in the General Library on general loan and in the Philson library on general and short loans.


Course Coordinator

Teaching staff