You probably have had group projects during some point in time in your education years, mostly in polytechnic, junior college and university. If you have not reached that stage yet, you will soon be exposed to carrying out group projects. What are the benefits of group projects and how can you do well in them? This article seeks to find out.
Group projects are often cited to be the bane of a student’s life. Having to struggle with individual assessment criteria, they also have to ensure that the group project does not go bust (or their grades will go with it!). Having to deal with the project’s progression as well as potential conflicts or issues that arises when working with a group can be quite of a headache. It always seem like the school is torturing us to put us through these negative experiences but these experiences have some benefits to them.
Benefits of group projects
1. Working with others
Group projects help students to learn how to work with others outside of their own social circle. These people may have come from a background that is different from them and thus have different perspectives on certain topics. The variety of insights, questioning and analysis may result in better solutions and performance. Sharing what they know and respecting each other’s views also further reinforces the notion of teamwork.
2. Mastering content by deeper understanding
Group projects help students to master the content of the topic on hand. Researching into the topic forces students to dig deeper into the content than what is learnt in the classroom. In addition, the shared perspectives that members of the project group can bring different insights and perspectives into a certain topic, further broadening a student’s understanding and knowledge of the topic.
3. Mirror of the corporate world
Group projects are a mirror of the corporate world, where often, employees have to come together to solve complex problems at hand. Group projects provide this experiential learning experience that students can bring into the workplace. Knowing about different people’s working style and adapting to it comes with practice, where group projects can give. Conflict and disagreement resolution also plays a large role in the working world, in which group projects may be able to help students develop the techniques and methods for.
While it is absolutely true that not all group projects have the said benefits, it is so for those that are well managed and well designed. When group work is carefully constructed and when teachers help groups that have group dynamic issues that compromises group effectiveness, group work brings about certain invaluable skills that the student can learn.
How to do well in group projects
While it is impossible to control how your group members behave in a group setting, there are some tips that you can make use of, to make sure the project is more smooth sailing.
1. Planning and Preparation
Successful group work always start with planning. Planning how the project progresses across the weeks can help members to have a mental preparation on what is to come and what to expect from that group work in the weeks to come.
Respecting other people’s views and listening out to them helps in the group dynamics. Interrupting or insisting that your idea is the best one without first hearing others out may lead to tension and conflicts that you definitely do not want to be embroiled in!
3. Do your part
Of course, doing your part is a given. Being a freeloader in the group work will give you an extremely negative reputation. Also, doing your part and your delegated work will aid in the pace and progress of the group project.
All in all, don’t be too worried should you be assigned to work on a group project for it can bring you invaluable skills that you can use in the workplace. All the best!