Study Skills: Group Work
Group work can involve being part of a study group or can it involve being part of a group that's working on a college assignment or project. Being able to work as part of a team or group is an essential skill in the workplace so group work at college is a good way of developing teamworking skills.
Why form a study group? There are many good reasons:
- A good way of getting to know classmates
- A source of academic and social support
- Keeps you honest with your studying
- Pool together knowledge and skills
Organising a study group.
- Choose members carefully: don't just think about having your best mates in the group - you might have a good laugh, but not actually get any studying done. Look for classmates who want to study
- Choose a location and stick to it throughout term if you can. The location should ideally
- be quiet and free from distraction.
- have a whiteboard and marker pens (perhaps a room in college?)
- Try to meet at the same time every week at a time agreed by and suiting all members
- Keep the group to 4-6 members. More than six members will be difficult to organise, while smaller than four might mean you're more easily distracted
- Meetings should be no more than 1-2 hours long
- Everyone should contribute to discussions and no-one should dominate
- It's ok for the group to do a little socialising, but that should come after, not instead of or during, the study meeting!
Group project work
Sometimes assignments take the form of a group project, which allow for learners to work on projects that are too big for one person Group projects are good preparation for the real world because they involve planning and scheduling, communication and people skills, leadership & co-operationh and conflict management.
Some tips for getting started on group project work:
- Everyone should introduce themselves and exchange contact details
- Create a meeting schedule, each meeting should be at the same time and in the same place if possible
- Have someone who chairs the meeting, a timekeeper and a note taker
- Everyone should take turns chairing, timekeeping and taking notes
- If you can, break down the work into smaller tasks
- You should share your strengths and weaknesses so you can allocate tasks based on strengths and skills
- Create a project schedule, so you can set due dates for each task
- Create a set of rules that the group can adhere to. The rules should also cover challenges such as disagreements, poor communication or participation and how they will be handled
- Make sure everyone has an understanding of:
- the project requirements
- the project due date
Remember, a good start is half the battle!