Not a lot. Or maybe a lot. That depends. Like, after three years of university and five group projects, I have realised that it sucks to be in one.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a team player (or not). I enjoy sharing the load of making an assignment with my peers (or not). I love sharing my ideas and knowledge for the greater good of our assignments’ marks (or not).
The problem in group projects, though, is that there will always be two kinds or people: one, the ego-centric people and two, the whatever-you-want-to-do ones. I am so over working with people who propel constant criticisms of whatever is being done and those who just stay silent and ghost-working in a group. This is exhausting.
So how does a group project work?
It’s either by: a) working on everything together, which hardly ever work because the diligent ones will do everything and the others just enjoy the ride, or b) dividing the sections of what each group member should do and then compiling the stuffs.
Both are not hitting the bull’s eye.
The purpose of a group project is to increase our teamwork ability, right? It’s to brainstorm our different ideas and choose the best one, and to compliment each other of our own weakness and strength. There might be one who is good at design, another who is good at research, and the other who is good at throwing ideas. Ideally, all these people work together and come up with a brilliant master plan for a project. Thus, a friendship is born, and so is a high mark (jackpot!).
Or so it should be.
Ironically, the usual view of group projects is either: a) there are one or two opinionated people who insist on their own ideals (and therefore the others just timidly obliging rather than spark up arguments – it’s just a waste of time and energy), or b) there are people who just do the bare minimum and do not really bother to show some effort.
Another important thing to consider? How many people in a group. The bigger the size of the group, the lesser the productivity and social cohesion of that group will be. Of course, if it’s a big project, more people are required to share the load, but seriously, how big is a university assignment project?
Needless to say, I have gotten my share of bad group projects, and only a few of the good ones. There are always people who care, people who don’t, and people like me, who sit in the middle. I am so over this.
So, what do you learn from group projects? Nothing. Oh, except the expertise of dealing with different kinds of people. Because truth is, you need that.