While students are completing their enrolled units, in addition to individual work, very often they will be asked to form into groups for presentation or written assignments. Why?
One principal reason is to help students get better prepared for their future career. We live in a society where we have to interact with others time and again. In course units, the lecturers deliver lectures and impart knowledge to the students. At the same time, the students are expected to study and do research on the unit materials to solidify as well as reflect on what have been learnt. Individual assignment is one way to achieve that. On top, group work can train students to get accustomed to different group dynamics while working with different classmates. Concepts and ideas, when bounced around in a group, can become more comprehensible and refined. Additional skills such as the following are likely to be honed:
- Interpersonal skills – how to communicate, interact and work with others;
- Leadership skills – how to manage an assessment to meet deadline and other requirements. Though a team leader may not be explicitly elected, someone within the group must take the initiative to coordinate and get others to work. When team members have completed their individual work, the leader or someone else must do an overall review to do some standardisation and ensure the entire work is cohesive.
Inevitably, working in group is not always smooth sailing: the task may take longer to complete; conflicts may arise when some members are not cooperating; result may not be as good as expected. Nevertheless, the experience gained and skills acquired can be readily transferred to the workplace. It will only help build your future career.