Working in groups is becoming increasingly popular within academics and organizations. Group work can draw on each member's knowledge and perspectives, frequently giving a more well thought out solution or better understanding of the project. It can also help by drawing on people's different strengths.
Groups are great for motivation. They force responsibility to others and frequently cause you to work better on a project than if you were only responsible to yourself. Group work helps keep you on task. It's harder to procrastinate when working with others.
Groups work best if everyone is included and everyone has a chance to contribute ideas. The group's task may seem overwhelming to some, and they may have no idea how to go about accomplishing it. To others, the direction the project should take may seem obvious. The job of the group is to break down the work into chunks, and to allow everyone to contribute. The direction that seems obvious to some may turn out not to be so obvious after all. In any event, it will surely be improved as a result of some creative modification
In organizing the work, the group will be able to work more efficiently if they are provided with some of the following:
Clear goals: Why are they working together? What are they expected to accomplish?
Ways to break down the task into smaller units
Ways to allocate responsibility for different aspects of the work
Ways to allocate organizational responsibility
A sample time line with suggested check points for stages of work to be completed
Group learning, or working in groups, involves shared and/or learned values, resources, and ways of doing things. Effective groups learn to succeed by combining these factors. However, each group, and each individual, will only be as effective as they are willing to embrace and/or respect differences within the group. [continues]
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