Student Resources

Reasons Why Students Dislike Group Projects

July 21, 2021
A cartoon character chatting with his teammates on his desktop and laptop for group project

It’s very common for students to dislike group projects and instructors are used to dealing with more conflict when students are asked to work together. But what are the main reasons why students are reluctant to participate in group projects?

Last week, we released a survey to hear what students have to say about group projects. Based on the answers we received, we have compiled a list of reasons why students dislike group projects. Keep reading to find out what they had to say and some tips we have to help mitigate these issues.

No Collaboration

From our group project survey, we saw that many students mentioned that their least favorite part of group projects is the fact that they sometimes have to do all of the work or that one person takes on all of the work. Our survey shows that 86.7% of respondents prefer to work alone, which could be a consequence of poor collaboration. One of the key takeaways from doing a group project is that students learn how to collaborate and work with other people. This skill is necessary for future careers and it is a soft skill that is very important.

What Can Be Done to Help

  • Make sure that all group members have a role (i.e. leader, proofreader, designer, etc)
  • Delegate tasks at the start of the project
  • Keep the whole group up to date on progress
  • Make sure everyone understands the project and has something to work on
  • Use an online collaboration tool (63.3% of our respondents said that this could help make group work easier)

Depending on Other People

Another thing that we noticed students struggle with is that they often try to work with others by delegating tasks but they have a hard time trusting others to complete their share of the work. This lack of trust likely stems from the fact that they have experience working with other students that don’t pull their own weight in a project. Only 10% respondents in our survey have said that they collaborate well in group projects. Working with others isn’t only about being able to produce a final product, but it is also about getting along, working with one another and learning to collectively finish the project.

What Can Be Done to Help

  • Take some time to get to know your team members
  • Establish expectations at the beginning of the project
  • Make it a safe space for everyone to ask for help

Lack of Communication

Some students also mentioned that they find it difficult to have productive meetings where they stay focused and agree on mutual ideas. Oftentimes, meetings are unproductive because group members aren’t paying attention, they don’t understand what’s going on or they don’t agree with the ideas being presented. A large part of learning to work together is to communicate well, hold effective meetings and come to conclusions by thoroughly discussing ideas. However, students find it hard to do this.

What Can Be Done to Help

  • Have meeting agendas for every meeting
  • Take meeting notes/ minutes
  • Make sure there is a team leader running the meetings
  • Listen to everyone’s idea before coming to a conclusion
  • Provide your teammates with constructive and consistent feedback