Start Immediately/alx

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Start Immediately
Last modification September 29, 2016
Source de Cortie, van Broeckhuijsen, Bosma & Köppe (2013)[1]
Pattern formats OPR Alexandrian
Learning domain

A group assignment is given to a group of students. This includes deliverables that have to be finished on a prearranged date and requires a certain amount of work and time for the realization. If there were unclear instructions, you clarified these with Clear Up Questions (Clear Up Questions). You find yourself at the beginning of the project.


Procrastinating to work on the project will affect the total amount of work finished at the end, the quality of the project and possibly the grades.

Distant Value. The assessment and the grading of the assignment are still far away, so working on it now does not seem to add value in short terms.

Moving Force. The students do not have any interest in the subject or they lack the motivation to start with the assignment.It can be also from an issue from a task that was assigned to them. The project is not started and the task at hand is not being performed.


Therefore: Once an assignment starts, exchange personal information and discuss the possible working times. Set up a meeting schedule, make a planning and start working on the first parts of the assignment as soon as possible.

The problem of this pattern is most common. An assignment is given to a group of students but they don’t start with it directly, resulting in a shorter period of time to complete the assignment and an increased working pressure because there is less time available. But if you start directly, you will still have all information clear in your head. If you start working on it at a much later point, you probably already forgot some of the required information.

Start by sharing your personal information and plan some meetings. Once this is done, the group should start working immediately on the tasks ahead. Work with smaller tasks so that you have some finished parts of the assignment in a short period. Starting immediately and with smaller tasks gives you the best benefit of the given time and a continuous experience of added value.

Once every group member understands the assignment, start Spread Tasks Appropriately (Spread Tasks Appropriately) directly at the first meeting. Now, every one knows what he has to do.

Sometimes, the teachers make the groups, so the students can not choose who they will work with. It is possible a group contains students who have/had a conflict with each other. As soon as their conflict influences the workflow, Mediate the Dispute (Mediate the Dispute) immediately to prevent the project from stagnation. It will also prevent that the rest of the group loses focus waiting for the problems to resolve.


A group assignment with a total available time of six weeks was given to a group of students. They started to work on the assignment four weeks after assignation. Even during the remaining two weeks, minor progress was made. Most work was done during the last two days before the deadline. When the work products where rated, the products did not meet the defined requirements. This resulted in a low grade.

When asked about what the cause of this was, it seemed that the group was just postponing the assignment and were canceling appointments made. The reason was that instructions of the assignment where vague and they did not take any actions because their motivation was too low.

The group was given a second chance, and this time they started working on the assignment immediately. Any ambiguities regarding the assignment were solved directly by asking the teacher about it. This change of behavior gave the students a clear picture of the products that had to be delivered. During their first meeting they spread the tasks among the team members. Every team member now knew what he had to do.

With the correct tools applied and a better use of their time, the members of the team knew how to go further in the project and what they could achieve. Their motivation about the class increased with their recent success.


  1. de Cortie, T., van Broeckhuijsen, R., Bosma, G., & Köppe, C. (2013). Learning patterns for group assignments: part 2. In Proceedings of the 20th Conference on Pattern Languages of Programs (PLoP 2013). The Hillside Group.