Are Group Assignments Effective For Encouraging Teamwork In Students?

Assignments-Effective-For-Encouraging-Teamwork-In-Students
May 12, 2022
Author : Celina

Group Assignment, these two words are enough to instil fear in the minds of even the most bravest. It's not the fear but the dread that comes along with it, working with total or partial strangers and waiting for people to do their part sincerely. I bet many of us have gone through a not so successful attempt at working in groups.

If you haven't been through the same, well, you're one lucky person to make it out without a haterade for group projects. The rest of us still wish for a better dynamic next time. But you might wonder how and where do the gaps arise? Are group assignments in teams really doomed to fail right from the start?

Did you know, according to Inc.com, supposed "good chemistry" in a team makes the team less effective? Teams don't reach an effective resolution if there's no conflict or diversity in ideas.

In hindsight, group projects are never aimed at getting things done but rather encouraging students to work in groups. According to a report published by Psychology Today, students tend to get agitated in group projects due to half of their grades depending on someone else. This sense of not having control makes people go overly controlling or comfortable.

It's a warfare of the mind rather than dynamics. Having ground rules and aligning schedules before getting started is one way of participating and feeling in control. Read forth to learn more about such tips and the relevance of such projects.

tips for effectively working in group

Why Are Group Assignments In Teams Important In The First Place?

We all must've heard of this saying, "the more hands there are, the lighter the work gets". This one statement describes the importance of group projects in just one line. Apparently, group projects aren't as dimensional; there are many factors to account for when determining the dynamics of a group. Still, such projects have proven effective and necessary for many reasons. Fe of such reasons are:

  1. Breaking broad complex tasks into smaller sections for each member to accomplish
  2. Teaches effective planning and time management skills
  3. Students learn to refine their work through discussion and practice
  4. Challenges personal mindset and assumptions when aligning diverse ideas to accomplish a common goal
  5. Strengthen communication skills, especially for students planning to pursue a career in the corporate world
  6. Delegation of responsibilities and roles
  7. Group assignments are undeniably a pool of knowledge
  8. Encourages a sense of individual and collective accountability
  9. Good for socialising and networking among students of varied disciplines
  10. Developing a personal perspective and voice.

Talent may win many games, but solid teamwork wins championships. Quote by Michael Jordan

These and many others, there are various reasons to focus on a group project. If you feel group tasks are challenging, you may as well try to focus on the journey rather than the final goal. Group dynamics aren't established in one day or so; your team will have conflicts and divided opinions but aligning them is the most important task before you can get started.

University life entails various assignments - essays, report writing, literature review, presentation, case studies, etc. Keeping up with all such tasks and a group project can get overwhelming, and you might need some help in researching or finding the right resource material. Get assignment help from various subject matter experts at pocket-friendly prices. Fill out the enrollment form to get started and get free access to our vast digital resources.

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So, Do Group Assignments Often Fail?

We all must've experienced a group project that crashed and burned and, along with, went down your grades. Okay, maybe not that dramatic, but having a bad experience or facing hurdles while working with different individuals is not something unheard of. You can very well get over it and find common ground if you try.

Before planning to overcome the hurdles, knowing the areas of lack or the roadblock that you might come across is important. Here’s why your group might not be doing as well as you expected:

Group size

Authors Michael S. Malone and Rich Karlgaard revealed in their book "Team Genius" that the ideal team size is five to nine members. Having too many or not enough members may affect your teamwork due to uneven delegation of responsibilities.

Task interdependence

Having task divisions that are heavily dependent on another task is a mistake that many team leaders make. Task interdependence should be reduced as much as possible. Diving the group into subgroups may also help in getting things done.

Heterogeneity

Diversity in opinions is expected when working with a varied group of individuals. Bridging the gaps in barriers - language, cultural differences, discipline, ect - is essential for reducing coordination costs and saving time for reviewing before final submission.

According to the reports collected by TeamStage (project management software), over 37 per cent of the employees in an organisation regarded team collaboration of much importance.

Freeriding

It is one of the, if not biggest, challenges with group assignments in teams. Often students get comfortable or dependent on their group members so much that they don't complete their share of the task.

Social loafing

It is somewhat similar to freeloading; students often don't give their best or even enough effort for group assignments. There can be many reasons for that, getting too dependent or not wanting to vouch for someone else's scores.

Conflict

Most common, but having conflicts is quite easy when working on a group project. Divided opinions and different schedules are prime reasons for conflict in group assignments. Still, studies show that groups with conflicts are more effective than those with good chemistry.

Differences in opinions and conflict are a part of life regardless of whether the other party is familiar or not. You will have such difficulties in your social group and even in professional relationships. The key is acknowledging the issue to get over them. As a team member or leader, you are just as responsible for encouraging communication and transparency among the team members.

types of group learning work

Is There Any Way To Complete Group Assignments In Teams Successfully?

To make a group project successful, you need to work on three major areas for improvement for group projects are:

As per a study conducted by psychologist Floyd Allport in 1920, team energy and efforts are good for an individual than working alone. Working in teams has proven to increase a person's productivity and mood.

Communication

  • Explaining ideas
  • Welcoming other team members’ ideas
  • Ask questions
  • Respect every teammate's ideas
  • Initiating conversations with each team member
  • Reflecting on team tasks and encouraging one another

Healthy group climate

  • Supporting an open and trusting relationship among team members
  • Trust each other's work process and be transparent about the amount of work done
  • Supporting each other’s ideas and encouraging everyone to share their opinions
  • Respecting new ideas and opposing opinions, not the person

Skills for effective working as a group

  • A sense of Individual accountability and responsibility is important for being an effective team member.
  • Offering constructive criticism to one another will help improve participation in the team.
  • Team sessions should be more focused on problem-solving
  • Organisation and management of the team are the responsibility of each member than just the team leader
  • Role recognition among team members is important for fulfilling individual responsibilities

Group assignments are major character-building tasks that every student has to go through despite their preference for the same. It encourages establishing healthy dynamics and communication among peers. You will learn a lot more from a person your age than from a professional nailing the same information into your brain. Often such tasks are more rewarding than individual tasks, but only when they are done right and effectively.

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About the Author

Celina

Celina

Hello, everyone! I’m Celina, an educationist and academic consultant. I enjoy reading, learning, and implementing the same in the assignments. I also take a lot of pride in guiding students with their assignments. I have 6 years of experience in writing assignments for students and when not doing that I follow my passion for blogging. I spent my spare time often researching new trends of writing.

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2023-02-09 19:39:59
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