Students' perception of learning geography through Group Investigation in Singapore

Ivy Geok Chin Tan, Shlomo Sharan, Christine Kim Eng Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines students' perceptions of the Group Investigation method of cooperative learning. A total of 142 students (62 low-achievers and 80 high-achievers) from two schools worked in cooperative learning groups during a period of over six weeks using the Group Investigation method. At the end of the study, they were asked to write their perceptions of the Group Investigation method. Out of a total of 955 statements made by all the students, two-thirds (652) were positive statements and one-third (303) were negative statements. Both the high-achieving and low-achieving groups made twice as many positive statements as negative ones. The students' written statements of their perceptions and experience of learning with the Group Investigation method provided insights into their attitudes and orientations toward school learning. Four main categories of positive statements emerged. One category indicated that the Group Investigation method was interesting, fun and effective, while the other categories reflected the students'positive perception of their social relationships, learning skills and academic achievement in terms of deeper understanding of the topics investigated. On the negative side, students stated that they would like the teacher to continue with their normal teaching method, that is, to present academic material to them. The students thought that the Group Investigation method was time consuming and they were concerned about their coming examinations and syllabus coverage. Another cluster of statements was about their inability to learn as much from the new method of learning, and they encountered problems while working in groups, such as how to conduct their research and how to make their presentations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-276
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Research in Geographical and Environmental Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005


  • Achievement
  • Cooperative learning
  • Group investigation
  • Group work
  • Motivation
  • Students' perception


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