Why Assign Collaborative Work?
What types of tasks should I consider assigning to groups?
The simplest answer is that groups are best at working on tasks that do not have one correct solution or answer. Thus, groups are better for putting together creative products and at solving complex problems that do not have a singular solution. The good news, then, is that groups, if managed properly, are better at most of the tasks we have set up in the Catalyst curriculum.
Are there advantages to working in a group?
There are many advantages, which is why collaborative “team work” has become the norm in virtually every aspect of the work world (corporate, non-profit, academic, etc.)
- A diversity of perspectives often leads to better outcomes.
- Groups tend to be more creative because brainstorming as a group has a “snowball effect.”
- Bad ideas are likely to be challenged and discarded.
- Buy-in is easier when it comes to implementing the ideas because everyone feels ownership of the decision.
Are there disadvantages to using a group to complete a task?
(Note: Most disadvantages occur when conflict in groups is mishandled.)
- Perhaps counter-intuitively, groups may come up with riskier solutions than any individual working alone may have devised. In part, this can be explained by the shared responsibility of the decision. In extreme cases, Group Think may occur.
- Groups take longer than individuals working on a problem.
- Some people simply hate working in groups. (It’s wise to assure students that at some point in their lives they will have to collaborate with someone, so, even if they hate it, it’s best to learn how to do it well.)