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What is Group work and how does it help me learn?

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In group work, you will typically be asked to form a small team that must complete a task successfully within a given timeframe. Group work can allow for engagement with more complex and large-scale tasks. Working collaboratively can help you to learn team working skills that are valued in the workplace and useful in life more broadly.  Group work can be both challenging and rewarding, and can help you learn to:

  • Break complex challenges down into smaller, more manageable tasks
  • Collaborate, effectively plan and manage your time
  • Strengthen communication skills
  • Be a team player
  • Practise giving and receiving responsibilities as well as peer feedback
  • Engage with and overcome obstacles/conflicting ideas
  • Form connections and apply links between concepts 
  • Deal with ambiguity
  • Engage with different perspectives
group work word jumble

Which Graduate Attributes will this assessment help me develop?

graduate attributes developed by group work

By participating in group work, you are both developing and being assessed on a wide variety of Graduate Attributes such as critical and creative thinking skills; effective participation in teams; listening, persuading and collaborating; connecting with people; and reflection.

Here are some examples of how this form of assessment can help you to develop the Trinity Graduate Attributes, depending on your experience and skill level, and the assessment criteria:

  • To Think Independently
    • Look at group work like a mosaic; the big picture is clear and unified, yet it is made up of an assortment of smaller tiles.  These ‘tiles’ represent each student’s independent thoughts and perspectives, that must be applied toward a larger project.
  • To Communicate Effectively
    • For instance, your ability to connect with people as well as to listen, persuade and collaborate with others.
  • To Develop Continuously
    • The more experience you gain working within different group dynamics, the more you develop your ability to communicate and collaborate socially, academically, and professionally.
  • To Act Responsibly
    • In particular,  being an effective participant on a team.

What is expected of me?

It will be important that all team members understand the task that has been assigned.  Your lecturer will provide information on how it will be assessed.

You will need to divide up tasks, taking into account the skills of the group members, ensuring responsibility is divided as evenly as possible.  Try to create an action plan identifying what needs to be done, when it needs to be done and by whom, in order to meet the final deadline. You will need to practise effective communication to ensure the group achieves its objective. Take time to discuss how your group will work together effectively, including how to handle conflict and members who do not complete agreed work.

group of students working together

Further resources