Group work

Collaborative work is a skill you need to develop and will be used throughout your career. So, how do you work effectively in groups?

During your studies you will be involved in group work – either in the form of study groups or as part of assessment in your courses. There are many benefits to working in groups but you do need to take the time to consider how your group will operate. This includes how to communicate, meeting times, meeting procedures, group member roles and expectations. Some lecturers will ask your group to complete a group agreement or contract addressing these aspects. 


Benefits of group work

Teamwork is an essential workplace skill and learning how to get on with people with different backgrounds, belief systems, personality types and work routines is important for your future career. Every group you are involved in will help you develop the essential collaboration skills you will need when in the workplace. Group members typically have different strengths and there will be many opportunities to learn from each other. Learning is also a social activity and the more you discuss ideas and what’s going on with other students, the more your understanding will develop.  

"You will come out stronger." Susan Du, Student

Tips for working in groups

In this short video a Lincoln University postgraduate student, Susan Du, provides some practical tips on how to work effectively in groups.

Group work for assessment

Group work for assessment requires you to use and demonstrate teamwork skills such as collaboration, negotiation and compromise – skills that will help make you work-ready. However, it takes time to get used to working in a group and to build a relationship with your group members. Agreeing on grade expectations at the outset can help.  

Lecturers expect all group members to participate equitably and work together to produce a coherent submission. You are individually responsible for knowing how to contribute fairly to group projects and giving appropriate credit to team members for their contribution. 

Group work might involve preparing a written document, a presentation, a lab report or another output. As with any assessment, read your group work instructions carefully to identify what is required of your group, and of your contributions individually. There may be individual components of the assessment that you need to submit.  

Study groups

Even if you do not have group work in your courses you can still get the benefits of working in a group by setting up your own study group for revising course material. If you are an undergraduate, student-led PASS sessions are provided for you for some courses and are a fun way to revise course material in informal groups.  

Some benefits of organising your own study groups are: 

  • Reinforcing knowledge of basic concepts by explaining them to others
  • Getting explanations from a student perspective
  • Clarifying what you do and do not understand
  • Getting a different perspective of things by discussing them with others
  • Gaining further motivation from the group energy
  • Getting to know others
  • Learning study strategies other students use to help them do better
  • Checking where you are at compared to others
  • Having fun while learning. 

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