Class Activity on Social Loafing: a Powerful Way to Demonstrate It

students seated at a table and two of them are asleep
Student Success
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Students usually hate group projects because one or two people in the group wind up doing most of the work. Here’s an activity that demonstrates this idea of “social loafing” and hopefully this will spark an excellent conversation among your students about the importance of everyone contributing to the group work.

Social Loafing

  1. Create Groups: create a few groups of 3-5 students and also assign some students to work individually.
  2. The task: Tell them you want them to “list things you would find in a city that begin with the letter T”.
    1. Individuals: write each idea on paper and tear off the ideas into tiny pieces of rectangular paper.
    2. Groups: put each piece of paper in a pile in the middle of the group
  3. No Talking: nobody can talk during the 2 minutes they’d be allowed to brainstorm ideas. ┬áThat’s it. Go.

Result: groups came up with an average of about 4 ideas while individuals came up with about 7.

Here’s a video where a teacher used the idea of building paper airplanes for this activity: