You may not always have the option of choosing your own group. However if you do, there are some important considerations you should take into account to ensure you get the most out of your group task.

Schedules

In order for a group to be successful it is important that the members are able to meet and discuss their ideas.  This is made a lot easier if members’ schedules are complementary, i.e. members are able to meet at mutually agreed times without too much trouble.  However, with the benefits that technology has given us, meetings don’t always have to be in person.  Find out more about using technology to assist in group work.

Diversity

Part of what makes group work worthwhile is members’ diversity.  In order to ensure that your group task is rewarding, it is important to choose members that have something different from you to bring to the ‘ideas table’.  This can be in terms of gender diversity, cultural diversity, age diversity or even the amount of research or work experience a member may have.  Ensuring your group has a number of different perspectives and ways of thinking will add to the wealth of ideas created for your task.

Commitment

Paramount to success is commitment by all members.  When choosing groups, try to choose those class members who you believe have an equal investment in the task as you do.  Just as it is unfair to invite someone to a group because you know they’ll do all the work, it is equally unfair to invite a friend if they are likely to miss meetings and procrastinate.

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the fantastic things about group work is that it provides an excellent opportunity to utilise all members’ talents. Ensuring that the members you choose have different strengths allows for those members to each give something to the group task.  This can be as simple as pairing up with someone you know is quite techno savvy if you know that your computer skills are lacking; or pairing up with someone you know is really good at structuring ideas in writing if you are more likely to think creatively without structure.