Everybody has their own views on the quintessential group projects that are inevitable throughout school. While some students claim it makes the assignments more difficult to complete successfully, others feel the group aspect creates a safety net that will make failing far less likely to happen. One thing that appears to come up frequently, however, is that every group tends to hold a mix of these views – especially when the groups are randomly assigned and students can’t just gravitate toward their friends. Having clashing perspectives on how the work will get done can often be what hurts a group the most, so communication is key. Without it, your group’s mission will never be accomplished. Along with communication comes a few steps that are necessary to follow if you want your project to be a winning one. You may also want to check out this information on the benefits of group study as well.
Establishing Roles: This should be done very early on and in regards to every aspect of the project. For instance, the very first time your group gets together and discusses the goals at hand, split up responsibilities related to researching information, acquiring supplies, gathering ideas, and whatever else may be on your collective plates. This will ensure you get off to a strong and organized start as a group – but that is just the beginning. Dividing up the roles is a consistent effort that needs to be carried through every step of the way. When you find yourselves at the next stage of the project and facing a new set of tasks, you must continue to assign them accordingly. Going along with this, identify who is best at doing what, or who has the most desire to take on certain responsibilities. This will guarantee each and every task is being completed in the best possible way by someone who genuinely cares about it and/or has the necessary skills to do it. More over, clearly splitting up tasks will make it certain that no work is being repeated. Once all of these roles are defined and put in place, you will be able to get through each phase of the project as smoothly as possible. Here are 6 habits to become a more organized student that you may want to take a look at as well.
Set Up Regular Meetings: Just saying things like, “we’ll talk about it sometime next week,” or “let’s figure it out whenever we see each other next,” is not going to keep things moving efficiently. Moreover, this will keep your group farther and farther from productive results. Trying to establish meeting times in a sporadic fashion will not work. As a group, you must talk with each other to identify when everybody is available and when they are not, and then plan your consistent meeting times accordingly. Set in stone as many of the details as you can – the time, the length of time, the place, what materials to bring, etc. This way, group members will always know when they are checking in with each other and have more stable deadlines as to when assignments need to be done. More importantly, this will minimize any possible fears of being out-of-communication with each other.
Exchange and Keep Handy Contact Information: If you’re really putting effort into this project, odds are you are going to have various inquiries and opinions to share with your group members at all times, not just when you meet. That is why being able to comfortably email, call, or text each other is crucial. Without these open lines of specific communication, you will be making it a lot harder on yourselves to get things done in an efficient manner. Holding onto doubts and unused ideas without sharing them with anybody can significantly hurt a project, so you and your group members must outwardly make this contact information available to each other immediately so everyone feels free to use them and comfortable doing so. The last thing anyone wants is for something to go wrong because members were too nervous or lazy to contact one another.
Monitor Progress and Goals: Just as you would independently on a project, keep track of how far along your group is in all of the various steps. Together, set deadlines for when each person’s specific tasks should be done in order to move forward at a good pace. With these deadlines set, you shouldn’t feel hesitant to check in with your fellow members and find out where they are in terms of progress. If they are struggling, help them out; perhaps switch tasks if you collectively feel certain people can cover them better. It is pivotal you treat everyone’s tasks with as much importance as you would your own because they are all leading up to your group’s goals – a.k.a. your goals. That is not to say you should unnecessarily take over other people’s tasks when not asked, but you should openly keep the discussion going regarding them so all of you are on the same page because ultimately, this is one giant effort that culminates in a result that belongs to all of you equally. Give the project the care it deserves.
Finally, don’t forget to have some fun with it and get to know your group members. If you treat this experience solely as a forced collaboration with people you just don’t care to invest your time in, then all of these steps will be quite difficult to carry through. Don’t write anyone off without giving them a chance – who knows, you might make a few friends along the way. Even regardless of whether or not you keep in touch with these people after the project is over, you’re bound to produce better results if you enjoy your time with them during it. That is one big plus of group projects; they keep things much more interesting than if you were working alone. Make the most of the situation and you may find yourself eagerly awaiting the next one. If you are a parent, you may also want to check out these tips to help your child work well in groups.