Good lessons in group projects

Cooperation is the key to success in many ventures throughout life. Our jobs, our personal relationships, our college careers—we are more likely to see positive results through joint efforts. Yet, it seems that the “group project” is as much cause for dread for the average student as midterms and presentations. Group projects offer us the opportunity to gain better understanding of both the values and intricacies of working with others toward the best possible outcome of any undertaking.

Through group projects, we see that individual facets of an assignment can be completed to a higher degree of quality when they are focused on by a student whose task it is to complete it, which results in a superior finished product. In other words, group projects demonstrate that many students working diligently on different parts of a project can produce better work than one student attempting to do everything.

The encouragement, support, and positive examples of others in a group project can have profound effects on our abilities to perform well in a given task or class. We learn, through effective group work, to value the motivation and energy given to us by being part of a successful team.

Most importantly, group projects allow us to hone our professional communication skills. Though an effective team supports and motivates its members, it also holds them to certain expectations so that the group can complete its project to the best of its capabilities.

Ultimately, group projects are like anything offered by school—their value is that which students take from them. Given the myriad of benefits group projects offer students who take advantage of the opportunities for enrichment, professors should implement group projects as required assignments.

And to students: If you’re dead set on lamenting every group assignment that you are meant to take part in, then you’re only depriving yourself of the chance to develop worthwhile capabilities. However, if you see them as the opportunities to learn valuable skills in professional cooperation, you will most certainly be benefiting yourself in the long run.