Advantages and Disadvantages of Group Discussion
A group discussion (GD) is a technique for exchanging ideas and viewpoints. It is commonly implemented in professional or educational contexts. The main goal of a group discussion is to provide each participant with an opportunity to express their thoughts and ideas on a particular topic, as well as to encourage listening and learning from other members of the group. Group talks may be helpful for idea generation, information sharing, connection development, and issue-solving.
The panellist or moderators will start introducing themselves and offer you guidelines for the process in a normal group discussion session. The group will then have around 10-15 minutes to pause and prepare before having about 30 minutes to discuss the topic. The time restrictions might change depending on the process. The panellist evaluates the applicants' performance using an assessment form and a specified marking scheme.
Group discussions are important for self-growth, but not everyone engaged in the discussion will have the same perspectives. Some may have had good experiences, and some may have had bad ones.
Here, in this article, we will be discussing the pros and cons of group discussion.
Advantages of Group Discussion
Encourages the development of Critical Thinking
Because it gives everyone a chance to voice their opinions and have their views questioned, group discussions encourage the development of critical thinking. Active participation in a conversation increases the probability that participants will analyze their own beliefs and weigh the merits of other points of view. This inspires individuals to express more carefully and critically on a certain subject.
Additionally, it broadens the group members' perspectives. Because everyone's perspective is heard and questioned, a group discussion enables members to think more creatively and develop new ideas.
Through the practice of listening, processing information, thinking critically, and expressing their opinions to others, group discussions help people improve their communication abilities. A group discussion gives participants a chance to practice how to communicate effectively with various personality types and how to negotiate in order to achieve an agreement.
For instance, people learn to listen during a group conversation by paying attentive attention to what others are saying and asking relevant questions. Moreover, individuals may practice respectfully and effectively responding to criticism and opposing viewpoints. They can also enhance their ability to defend their point of view without becoming aggressively defensive.
Enhances Problem Solving Skills
By giving people a chance to collaborate and suggest solutions to an issue, GD improves problem-solving abilities. Members can generate ideas, exchange ideas and viewpoints, and push one another to come up with unique solutions through group discussions.
Additionally, members of the group can express constructive criticism of one another's views, which can assist in sharpening and enhancing the solution. Working on a problem together can also aid in identifying underlying problems and basic reasons that may not have been visible to a single person. Individuals can develop their problem-solving abilities, strengthen their critical thinking abilities, and gain information from the group's combined knowledge by participating in GD.
Promotes Involvement of the Participants
Usually, a group gives members a place to share their thoughts. People who are ordinarily afraid to chat or interact are more inclined to participate when there is a team aspect present. People are more likely to act independently because they feel included in the decision-making process.
People are more likely to contribute ideas and find solutions to issues when there is often no sole responsibility of any particular person in the case of failure. Thus, a group discussion promotes the participation of the participants.
Helps in gaining Depth of Knowledge
The acronym GDL stands for "Gaining Depth of Knowledge", and it refers to the process of learning and understanding a subject more deeply. Group discussions involve a controlled and coordinated conversation among a group of individuals about a certain topic or issue. By considering many viewpoints and ideas, participants are able to develop a more thorough grasp of the subject or problem being addressed in the Group discussion. A more in-depth examination of the subject is encouraged by this form of discussion since it gives everyone an opportunity to speak freely. Additionally, it encourages the creation of awesome ideas and solutions to issues. Also, it fosters better communication and interpersonal relations among group members, which can promote more productive teamwork.
Helps to Boost Confidence
Having a group discussion may increase confidence in a variety of ways. It offers individuals the chance to develop their public speaking and communication abilities while getting input and encouragement from their colleagues. By enabling individuals to have a better grasp of their own pluses and minuses, a group talk further contributes to increased self-awareness.
Additionally, it encourages collaboration and relationship-building, which may raise morale and confidence. Last but not least, it provides individuals with the chance to learn from one another, which may aid in both broadening and deepening knowledge and comprehension of a subject.
Disadvantages of Group Discussion
A Time-Consuming Process
Group discussion takes time because participants must listen to one another, share ideas, debate contrary views, and reach a conclusion. Everyone should have the opportunity to voice their opinions and be heard. Depending on the depth and complexity of the problem and the number of participants, this procedure may take a while. It is crucial that everyone is given the opportunity to express their opinions respectfully.
Engaging with the entire group can have several benefits when there is a lot of time before a decision needs to be taken. It is preferable to seek an individual decision than a group one if you need to make a decision quickly.
No place for Hesitant People
Sometimes individuals choose to remain quiet throughout a group discussion because they have nothing additional to say. Prior to the procedure, they may have decided to "roll with the punches" and accept whatever the consequences may be. Due to this drawback, the leader may nevertheless be expected to make the final choice in a room filled with quiet people.
Due to social constraints, some team members may prefer to keep quiet. Since an excessive number of loud voices drown out humble and quiet expressions of shared expertise, this can be a downside of the process that can lead teams in the wrong direction. Simply put, if someone is hesitant to voice their opinion, the other team members will suppress their point and move on.
Sometimes leads to Unproductive Discussions
For a variety of reasons, group conversations might result in fruitless discussions. First, there is the possibility of herd mentality, which happens when members lose track of or disregard an individual's ideas in lieu of the group's attempt to attain a consensus. Due to the group's inability to fully explore all alternative options, this can result in having fewer ideal results.
Second, it might be challenging to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to contribute to discussions when there is a big group of members. As a result, certain participants may dominate the conversation, while others might feel embarrassed or ill-equipped to contribute due to their lack of confidence or expertise. As a result, the conversation might not accurately reflect the opinions of everyone in the presence, which could produce an incomplete and potentially useless result.
Third, it might be challenging to maintain concentration when a group is debating over a complex matter. The discussion may lose focus and direction as it deviates from the main topic, which could prevent any significant progress or resolution.
To sum up, group discussions can be ineffective if the participants don't allow each person an opportunity to contribute, or they lose concentration or are unable to come to a consensus.
Expensive Process to Conduct
Due to the costs involved in planning, directing, and monitoring the discussion, conducting group discussions can be expensive. A moderator is typically needed in group discussions to keep the conversation on track and to guarantee that each member has an equal chance to contribute. Given that moderators are often compensated for their knowledge and time, this can be a costly process.
Additionally, buying equipment like paper, pens, and other items is frequently necessary for group discussion. These expenses can easily build up and make conducting group discussions expensive. If required, renting a place is also expensive. Furthermore, travel expenses might be required if the gathering is huge or separated geographically.
Create Personal Conflicts between the Colleagues
Group conversations can be a cause of dispute and tension when different viewpoints are expressed and discussed, which can lead to interpersonal issues between coworkers. Whenever a group of colleagues gathers to talk about a problem or a project, they can individually contribute their own viewpoints and opinions to the discussion. This might lead to heated debates and personal disputes.
For example, suppose one person has an opinion that is in stark contrast to another's. In that case, they may feel frustrated or insulted if their opinion is not given equal consideration or respect. This can lead to feelings of resentment or hostility, which can manifest itself in the form of personal conflicts between colleagues.
Additionally, group discussions can create personal conflicts if someone feels left out or ignored. If some members of the group are more vocal or assertive than others, they may monopolize the conversation and drown out the opinions of more introverted colleagues. This can lead to feelings of exclusion, which can ultimately lead to personal conflicts between the participants.
Overall, group discussions can create personal conflicts between colleagues, especially when opinions are diverse and some people feel left out.
Group discussion has proven to be a great way to promote active learning and collaboration among peers. While this method has many advantages, such as allowing people to brainstorm ideas, gain feedback from others, and practice communication skills, it can also have some drawbacks. These drawbacks include the potential for groupthink, the lack of control over the conversation, and the difficulty of ensuring that everyone has an equal voice.
Despite all these drawbacks, a group discussion is still a valuable tool that can help individuals gain knowledge and skills, as well as create meaningful connections with others. Overall, group discussion offers a great way to learn, collaborate, and discuss topics positively and engagingly.