Facilitating group-work in Talis Elevate


For large cohorts, facilitating work in groups can be required to ensure students’ are given the focus they require for support, guidance, and effective facilitation. Currently, in Talis Elevate, we do not have capabilities to facilitate a grouping structure. This is intentional at this stage, to ensure that Talis Elevate is a simple to use tool that doesn't duplicate functionality available in your local VLE 

This document outlines some of the recommended options you have for facilitating group activity in Elevate via your VLE 

Utilising Group structures in the VLE 

Within the VLE, you will have the capabilities for creating, organising, and managing groups. The functionality in this area will vary dependent on your VLE. Unfortunately, most VLE’s do not allow for a group activity to be based around LTI Components, meaning you need to add the URL or embed the iFrame for Talis Elevate resources directly into an element of the group environment. 


In Elevate 

  1. Upload a file into your Talis Elevate module for each group via app.talis.com. Make sure you name these clearly so you know which group each document relates to 
  2. Click on the ellipsis (3 dots to the right of the document name) and copy either the URL or the embed code 
  3. In the VLE, create your group environments. Only enable the tasks tool
  4. Create a task, and set a due date and priority (likely medium) 
  5. Use the HTML embed option to embed the resource into this window. Click submit 
  6. It will look like this once opened
  7. Repeat the process for other groups  

Disagree and Commit group structures 

A common approach often taken in Team-Based Learning activity is based around groups assigning roles to each member of the group, either based on their personal strengths or alternatively, areas for personal development. An example of this is detailed below 

Student A- Spokesperson

Student B- Note Taker

Student C- Analyst 

Student D- Chair 

Student E- Researcher 

Whilst these roles aren’t explicit for each user, they form a basic agreement around roles and responsibilities within the group environment. 

As part of this, adopting a ‘disagree and commit’ approach to group activity can help students’ get more involved with group work and help give life experience around reaching consensus, working collaboratively, and other soft skills essential for professional life. 

This approach often found as a key management practice particularly in software development encourages an approach for reaching consensus, requires users to openly speak out about disagreements with a proposal or hypothesis being presented by team members. The team do not move forward with a proposal until a consensus on the approach to take, or commentary to add is reached. Once the whole team agree on the approach being taken, this is the point when activity can progress.

In the Talis Elevate scenario, the main body of group activity takes place outside of Elevate itself. The key principle is focussing on the soft skills around collaboration and reaching an agreement. Students’ work on annotation of resources using the personal notes feature. Once a consensus has been reached around the task at hand, the spokesperson for each group annotates the resource in the class comments section, badging the comment with their group name. This limits the volume of individual user annotations being made but still ensures the key themes of discussion are portrayed throughout the specific resource/s

Whole cohort discussion 

Of course, utilising Talis Elevate for a whole cohort is an option here. You will typically (with any activity, technology adoption or face to face interaction) find that a large proportion of the cohort will stay quiet on activity. However, we’ve found that we are able to lower the barrier to entry for students’ by promoting the anonymity feature available within Talis Elevate. 

Students are able to self select if they write a comment showing their name or anonymously at point of writing the comment. For many, this enables them to speak up with the comfort they aren’t exposing themselves if perceived as asking a potentially stupid question. 

It should be noted that with large levels of discussion, this can be off-putting for quieter students. Many reports that the vocal minority can often take over a task. It is again, important, to build expectations and limits into your activity to try and mitigate this. 


  • Ask each student to comment 3 times maximum on a resource
  • Detail the type of discussion elements you’d like communicated. For example, avoid simple responses like ‘agree’, and give detail on why 
  • Promote the anonymity feature; particularly important for those who have less confidence in speaking out in a class environment. 

Want to discuss this in more detail with our Learning Technologies Lead? Raise a support ticket via the link below in this widget. 


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