By Sanjeet Chowdhury
‘We’re are going to adopt a group project-based learning approach in this class in order for you to enrich your learning experience.’ How often have we heard this phrase from our professors during class? While some thrive when working on scenario-based project learning, many students shudder at the thought of having to work with other students. What complicates things further is when your teacher randomly creates a group and leaves it up to you to navigate through the class with absolute strangers.
Fret not though. We’ve got it all covered for you. Here are some simple steps that can help you to turn those strangers into team-mates and even into friends, that’ll help you breeze through the class.
- Introduce, connect and converse:
As basic as this step may seem, it is one of the most important steps in laying a strong foundation for your team. Just by having a small conversation with other members of the group can help you in getting to know their levels of interest towards the class or their commitment towards taking up roles for the group project. You could also get to know some mutual friends that’ll help you to break the ice even further.
2. Assigning roles – Right person for the right job:
This can be the tricky part of the group project. Slackers find this to be the most opportune moment to sneak away by taking on the most insignificant tasks in the group project. Whilst, the handful few are over-burdened with doing all the project work. In such cases, it’s important to have an open conversation with the group members and those with relevant skills need to be assigned those particular tasks.
3. Establishing a framework for completing tasks:
The group members may have their own method of going about carrying out their assigned roles. However, in order to avoid errors such as missing deadlines, duplication of work or misrepresentation of facts, there is a need to create a framework around which the group members could carry out their responsibilities. This could be something as ordinary as creating a spreadsheet to update the status of the tasks or organizing group meetings so that all members of the group are on the same page and that the tasks are carried out smoothly.
4. Collaborate and pool in resources:
The essence of group projects is to share your skills with the team and when every member of the group does so, the group is able to learn and enhance their understanding of the class. One could help out their teammates with certain tasks that the other group member may some expertise in, thereby facilitating team bonding and information sharing in the group.
5. Appreciating and giving credit:
Everyone likes to have a pat on the back. When group members appreciate each other’s contribution to the group work, it fosters a positive working environment. By recognizing the efforts of team members, group members can bounce ideas off each other showcasing traits of cooperation and open-mindedness as well.
One can’t stress enough on the importance of establishing project objectives, developing communication channels and proper division and delegation of tasks in the group project. These aspects serve as the pillars of success in a group project. Also, at all times, group members must be respectful of others opinions and suggestions. When one is able to do so, it increases the possibility for the group to obtain a greater understanding in the class and most importantly, complete and submit the project within the due date of turning in the project.
Group projects are a great method for group members to hone their leadership skills, time-management skills and also on communication skills. So, the next time you’re in a group project, leverage these measures to get the most out of your class and the project as well.