Group project is a part of a student’s learning process and, while necessary, can be frustrating. Working with others is difficult to learn, and miscommunication makes this process even harder when group members aren’t face-to-face.
In this article, we’ll show you how to integrate Creativity 365 Education into your group project and other tools you can use to stay well-connected, productive, and learning efficiently.
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Have a Kickoff Meeting
You have to consider the team members’ previous experience when planning the project roles. If you’re the project leader, you need to assess your team and understand the competencies of your fellow members, possible meeting times and establish deadlines, and when you can do tasks on their own vs. which parts will be treated as collaborative assignments. Try to apply a meeting agenda template to plan what you will cover at the kick-off meeting!
It’s essential to discuss time management, delegation, and, most importantly, group objectives from the beginning. Make sure all team members know what’s expected of them and the goals to be achieved. While this is a collaborative assignment, delegating individual tasks within the group is better so everyone can develop their ideas.
However, if you believe your project is more complex and requires a little more attention, you may always take advantage of project management software. Project management software will certainly assist you with better scheduling, improved team collaboration, resource management, roll-out forecasting, and risk detection and mitigation, among other things.
Besides, during a project, you have several phases you’ll need to optimize to make the project successful:
- Research phase
- Organization of information and outlining of the presentation
- Editing phase
A constructive framework for your group project will make communication and collaboration more straightforward to maximize the group efforts.
Facilitate the Group Information Sharing
Once you have all group project details set, the next step is to choose the collaboration tool for the team to exchange information.
One of the most time-consuming parts of a group project is to find a file-sharing platform where everyone can easily share information and communicate. Since research is the first part of the group’s class project, everyone’s distinct workflows might clash.
There are many team collaboration or productivity tools that can solve this issue. A good solution should be accessible to everyone, simple to use, and updated in real-time. Cloud storage platforms, like Google Drive or Dropbox, are a must. If you’re looking for team management tools, some features in tools like Notion and Trello are helpful in the group project. Many apps integrate with your email client for Windows or Mac, making them really simple to use.
Throughout the group’s research, there may be much information from various sources, including articles, texts, ebooks, etc. If steps aren’t taken to organize, this critical information may be forgotten if not correctly marked. At the end of the research stage, you can use Markup’s Auto Summary feature, an AI-integrated reading tool that can extract key points from large files or text and neatly form summary paragraphs for you.
With Markup, you can find a webpage, share it with your group, and make all your notes and annotations directly on any website. With the swipe of a finger, you can highlight and share the best parts of each website or PDF.
Quickly gather references, take notes, and summarize the article/website on the browser while you’re reading it. More importantly, all your teammates can view and access your references effortlessly on various devices.
Choose the tool that works best for your team’s needs, discuss with them to see which is easiest to use, and make sure everyone can engage in the project online and during in-person discussions.
Collect & Organize the Research Key Points
Each member can do a great job retrieving information from different sources, including books, articles, websites, and PDFs. The downside of having information from these other sources is that you’ll have many different file types.
An efficient way to tackle this issue is to look for a way to unify or regulate the files. NoteLedge allows you to incorporate pictures, video content, audio, text, handwritten notes, web clippings, and drawings/graphs into one document. Using an infographic maker to summarize all the information and display it attractively is also a good choice.
By bringing all these resources into one place, your entire group will easily access all information. Imagine having zero confusion about either the source of the research or the researcher who found the original data.
When your group holds meetings to go over their ideas from the research stage, it’s advantageous to organize the notes of the items from the meeting. These meetings will further discuss project roles, project resources, and how to complete project tasks.
That way, you can lay out assignment miles to clearly understand what is necessary for the project. When all group members have a cohesive understanding of what information is being added to the project, your team will likely build a more polished presentation at the end.
Finishing Up The Project
Now that we’ve done all the heavy lifting, it’s time to start wrapping things up, so they will be ready to present. This vital part of the project must not be overlooked, so ensure that your team has enough time to wrap up the task properly.
All your information is ready, so you can quickly sort through excessive notes to focus on what’s important—everyone’s highlights on PDFs, reference web pages, notes, or recordings from group meetings.
Once all your information is organized into documents, your group should agree on the best way to present it so everybody’s work is appropriately displayed. If your project requires a presentation, you must also decide how you’ll present and how each person will show their research.
Sometimes groups will encounter problems, so it’s helpful to know about some of them.
Here are some common problems during a group project:
How to manage the conflict in teams?
Group conflict is almost unavoidable. But if the dispute is handled well, it can positively affect the group. Sandler, the professional training organization, has proposed several steps you can take when facing a conflict:
- Acknowledge conflicts: Conflict isn’t a pleasant experience, but letting your teammates know you disagree with the course of action can avoid resentment building up over time.
- Stop and cool off: Reaching a consensus isn’t a short or enjoyable process. When the discussion is going nowhere, stop it and cool off to prevent destructive remarks from hurting the team spirit.
- Clarify your position: Clarifying is an essential way of communicating. Explain where you’re coming from and try to understand the reason behind your teammates’ disagreement. There is no bad idea. Everyone wants what’s best for the team.
How to avoid doing all of the work yourself?
This stigma is often placed on group projects, but it certainly doesn’t have to be the case.
A critical tip for group projects is always to delegate when appropriate and keep everyone in sync. With apps like Markup, you can easily collaborate while still handling your tasks. That way, you can see what each person is doing to ensure that every group member maintains their project side.
How to keep the individual research aligned with the project objective?
A common mistake people make in a group project is that each member will do their research and form their ideas, then have difficulties putting all the information together. It’s called the Frankenstein effect.
To avoid your group project becoming Frankenstein’s monster, here are some tips from George Washington University Teaching & Learning Center:
- Assign one member of the group the role of editor, ensuring a cohesive voice throughout the presentation
- Display an example of the completed product(s). You may want to include an example of a Frankenstein project to illustrate your point!
- Schedule periodic check-ins so that the members don’t submit all their drafts at the last minute
Store All of Your Work In One Place
Not everyone is always together in one place when working on a group project, and some files that need to be shared are much too big to be included as just a link. Because of this, Kdan Cloud is the perfect solution for group members to stay in touch and work productively together from anywhere.
With 1 TB of storage that comes with Creativity, Kdan Cloud allows you to store and sync all of your files, share files or folders, and easily convert high-quality videos and documents.
After using all of these apps, the cloud lets you safely store the work from each app into one place so your group can ensure that your project will be saved.
While working on a group project can be difficult at times, your group will be more productive by staying connected and constantly working together. Don’t let miscommunication and the absence of a group member harm your project. Take these excuses out of the equation as you implement Creativity 365 into your next group project.
You Are Ready To Present!
As fellow team leaders, we wanted to congratulate you on taking the first step towards leading a practical group project. Understanding the critical components of a successful project is the only sure way to administer practical implementations and proper execution. Using the resources from this article allows you to make tough challenges seem easy.
When your tools are simple, people like you and your team can focus on exchanging ideas and getting back to the actual work rather than toying around with complex software. Creativity 365’s tools, including Markup, NoteLedge, and Kdan Cloud, were designed for high performance and to solve your real problems.
Bring Brilliant Ideas to Life!
For even more valuable resources to continue improving your leadership skills, you can learn about practical tools for project templates like this Research Proposal template and this Meeting Minutes article. All these resources will help you increase the efficiency of your group projects.