5 Skills Students Can Learn Through Group Work And Collaboration

Skills Students Can Learn

At times, working alone leads to difficulty in eliciting probable solutions to the problems at hand. You might require help from your coworkers to retrieve inaccessible information or run an application. Studying or working in groups has various significant benefits. Group work enables students to learn and work with their peers simultaneously. It is a kind of teaching method that encourages students to learn and socialize together. Working in a group can help you learn more about a topic and better understand it. In contrast to a passive learning environment, a collaborative learning environment allows you to learn more effectively. Let’s see 5 skills students can learn through group work and collaboration.

Facets of Cooperative Work

There are two perspectives of group work cooperation.

  • Working in a group: Situations in which individuals are working on different tasks but seated together. In such groups, no cooperation takes place between the members, while cooperative learning is possible.
  • Working as a group: Situations in which members of a group collaborate to achieve a common goal. To achieve the goal, all members of the group actively participate. Problem-solving skills and group competence is visible in such groups.

Grouping helps students grasp differing concepts, ideas, and even beliefs. Students with varying core competencies, creativity, skills, and mindsets, come together and impart their knowledge. In this way, students can learn varied skills, opinions, and unique ideas that help them in the professional world. 

To say that group work and collaboration help build a system of diversity and inclusion would be an understatement. Today, many career pathways, like social work, focus on collaborative teamwork for this very purpose. If you look at the social work skills list, you’ll see that it consists of active listening and communications skills. Both of which are primary requisites of group work.

Students can hone various skills through group work, which include: 

1. Manage responsibilities

When members of a group work together on a specific task, they share responsibilities. The task allocation takes place based on the group members’ areas of competence. The difference of opinion might result in conflicts. However, taking charge in a collective project and navigating through conflicting personalities makes you more competent to face challenges. 

Setting rotational team roles can be one way to get past such a challenge. By working on strict deadlines, students are in a better position to provide work within a specific time limit. The majority of the group members strive hard to be responsible and work diligently. 

2. Leadership

All the members in a group don’t possess the same capabilities and knowledge. Some members might not be equally knowledgeable about a specific task. So, students working as a group learn to delegate roles. One member might become a teacher (leader), while others become learners. 

Becoming a group leader necessitates the development of your expertise. You must organize your knowledge to convey it to others appropriately, and it should be understandable. To do that, you will need to break the information into smaller chunks and ensure everyone remains on the same page. Working in groups helps determine who possesses leadership skills and how others can follow suit. It allows followers to learn from those acting as the group head/teacher and develop leadership skills. 

3. Develop new approaches to problems

Group tasks serve as pools of creativity. When teammates from different backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, and creeds come together, they bring unique ideas/opinions. Every member thinks differently with a new and creative approach. When every member actively participates in finding solutions, there will be more innovative ideas on the table. As the famous old saying goes, two heads are better than one; creativity will emerge, and there will be multiple approaches to problem-solving. 

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The purpose of group work is to demonstrate how socialization impacts learning and development. And today, several education institutes have realized the significance of group work precisely because of this reason. 

4. Negotiation skills

Students working in a group are compelled to communicate and coordinate even if they prefer avoiding interactions. Consequently, they begin communicating openly and more confidently, allowing them to build negotiation skills. They can better debate topics with their peers, exchange and overcome conflicting ideas, and manage free-riders. Alongside improving their communication skills, teamwork allows them to become efficient negotiators. They become competent at presenting and analyzing various sides of a picture and in concluding to plausible solutions. 

5. Positive interdependence

Teamwork enables students to learn positive interdependence. When operating in a group to achieve a common goal, one person’s success is contingent on the success of the other. The members rely on each other and encourage one another to participate. Positive interdependence is the center of all collaborative activities that characterize cooperation and turn groupwork into teamwork. 

Division of work, roles, responsibilities, shared goals, and trust are all ways to build positive interdependence.  There are several types of positive interdependence. It consists of reward, resource, task, and role interdependence. Face-to-face promotive interactions between group members are one approach to ensure that good independence develops.

Bottom Line

Teachers often assign more complex, real-world issues to groups of students than they can to individuals. Group engagement brings more unpredictability to instruction since groups can approach tasks and solve problems in novel and intriguing ways. Students working in small, close-knit groups tend to learn and remember more. Employers all over the world value teamwork. The skills learned in working as a group helps students in the professional working environment. They can lead teams with diverse members from all over the world.

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