Students can learn much more than just class material from a group project, including team management skills, leadership, and creativity. Here are several ways for maximizing the benefits of group projects for students.
- Creative format
Group projects that involve creative media, such as film, art, or cooking, can often get students more excited about the project. Even simple presentations can elicit more participation and involvement rather than a simple worksheet, paper, or poster board. Having a more creative format can also shift students’ perceptions of what the project should be like; if the project resembles many individual assignments in the class, then students will default to individual work, rather than group work.
- Time to work in class
Often times, students are incredibly busy with extracurricular activities, sports, and instrument practice. Allowing a few minutes of class time for the group to meet and organize the project will greatly benefit students, as it will allow them to develop and implement a schedule for themselves. At the very least, it will give them a chance to set up another meeting time outside of class.
- Student evaluations
Having the students evaluate each other can be a very useful way to maximize the benefits of a group project. It will give the instructor a better idea of how the group worked together, and it will give him or her a better understanding of the work distribution for the project. Ideally, students should also be evaluating the project itself, giving feedback for what could be improved for the next year.
With these techniques in place, students are ready to get the most out of their next group project.