Learning from Service
I learned immensely about myself from undertaking the project. First, it is my understanding that working in a group is more beneficial than as an individual as I have before. My team members were really helpful and with their positive attitude towards the project we were able to achieve the best results. I discovered that I am a team player. The score for the presentation was however based on personal presentation. This quite challenged me as I got the lowest score. In that regard, through the project I was able to identify my weakness in presentation. As an international student this project has pushed me to greater limits as I was subjected to additional research in order to be at par with my team members. Nonetheless, it was a great learning experience as I learnt the importance of teamwork and research.
To deal with the challenge I faced in presentation I intend to practice more on public speaking so as to overcome this fear. In order to improve my presentation skills I should practice continuously. Continuous rehearsal is necessary to ensure successful presentations. Secondly, I purpose to attend more presentations to learn from other presenters on how they deal with nervousness and other factors that lead to poor presentation. Adjusting my surrounding to ensure that I am comfortable enough is another factor that I intend to consider in the next presentation. Positive visualization and engaging the audience also improves presentation. Lastly, I learnt that in order to have a successful presentation, one should not cover much material. A reasonable amount of data is important. Long presentations make the audience to lose concentration and it also increases the chances of mistakes. With the lessons learnt from this project, I am in a better position to handle future assignments in and outside of school.
Learning about Learning
The processes used by the team during this research were surveys and analysis. We participated together as a team to distribute our survey to the public. This is one great way of earning and engaging in public relation. Through the survey I learnt that one can gain a huge amount of information through association with others. Through our surveys we gathered meaningful opinions that propelled the project in the right direction. I learnt that when conducting such an activity it is important to create a non intimidating environment in order to achieve as much feedback as possible. By showing interest and maintaining privacy our respondents from the public were able to give open and honest feedback. I also learnt from our second method which was analysis of the received data.
I learnt that combined efforts in analysis of research data consumes little time and yields effective results. Analysis requires full attention to ensure that each and every detail is scrutinized. Analysis afforded the team an opportunity to dig deeper into the received feedback so as to create conclusions to aid in our final presentation. Each and every individual in our team was given an opportunity to give opinions on the feedback and to suggest how the project would be written down. Through this method I learnt to respect other people’s opinions and to pay attention in order to do better. I also learnt that keeping track of personal contribution to the group is important for future reference. Questions might arise even after the project has been completed. Therefore, keeping a record of the findings is useful in such situations. I discovered through the project that I understand things better when they are broken into small blocks. Therefore in future projects I recommend that team members organize their work into steps to ensure that they are easily understood and to provide a reasonable workload which results in achievement of realistic goals.
The project uncovered some things about how I learn. Doing personal research before joining a group discussion is essential for outstanding results. For the first time I felt like this group was the best due to my increased participation. This was boosted by having prior knowledge to the discussion topics that contributed to completion of the project. Secondly, I discovered that I learn better when I ask questions about topics I do not understand. Inquiring from my fellow team members improved my contribution to the project. I also learnt that I pay more attention when I write down some notes based on what is being discussed. I also learn better when examples are used. In that regard, I intend to apply this newly acquired skills in future research to boost my teams score and ensure success of future projects.
Learning about Critical Thinking
Through the project I learnt various things about decision making. My group has what be referred to as collaborative decision making. No single decision that was made in the course to the project can be attributed to one group member. We gave individual suggestions followed by lengthy discussions to decide which of them were advantageous to the project. When decisions are made collectively, they are likely to be effective and beneficial to the project. One advantage that was evident from the collective decision making is that it provided access to more information. A group is better place as an individual cannot possess all the information as it would have been in a group of several individuals. Secondly, collaborative decision making provided diversity of views. When a group is made up of more than two members, there is the advantage of varying views. Every member of my group was unique, therefore there is bound to be diversity and variety in our views. Making decisions as a team enabled the group to identify various approaches towards problem solving. I also learnt that making decisions as a group enables a team to cover a wider area.
There is greater acceptability and access to expert opinions when decisions are made collectively. Views expressed by many people are more acceptable than the suggestion imposed by one individual. I believe our decisions on this project were better as they were a part of a large consensus. Therefore, our group discussions were more democratic which led the success the project. There was one challenge however associated with this collective decision making. At some point the suggestion of one of our team members had to disputed or replaced by another decision that had the backing of the other group members. This can make an individual feel left out. It is however advisable to encourage democracy to ensure effectiveness in future. I would recommend that before choosing the decision that has numbers, the team members should look into the advantages and disadvantages of each and every suggestion first in future researches.
I learnt that collective decision making increases the degree of involvement amongst group members. Each member of the group tends to feel more involved in any given problem during the project. Therefore, it minimized resistance and strengthened our team thus facilitating smooth decision making, lastly, I learnt that making decisions as a team encourages participation among members. It provided a platform for individuals to present their own ideas. It also encouraged interactions even from people who are normally hesitant to talk. Therefore, when people are involved in decision making it pushes them to take initiative to come up with suggestions and solution to problems. Also the fact that there is no individual blame in the event of failure encourages team members to participate indecision making.
There was diversity in our project group. It was a group of four where both genders were represented. I also happen to be an international student and I consider getting a chance to work together with local students as diversity as I was able to learn a lot during the process. This improved our discussions and enabled effective achievement of results. We encouraged each other as group members to also go beyond the obvious sources of information and employed the use of survey to acquire data on our research topic. The surveys did not discriminate as we distributed them in public without bias to a certain specific group. Therefore is also appropriate to say that there was diversity in the way we acquired information for the project.
Valuing diversity promotes uniqueness. Recognition of factors that make one person different from the other makes them feel valued and therefore they feel free to share whatever information they have which improves the quality of the resultant work. Differences between people is not a negative trait, it is instead a factor that makes them special. We were able to learn new things, correct each other, resolve conflicts and acquire meaningful data due to diversity in our group.
Diversity promotes communication among individuals. It enables team members to exchange thoughts, ideas and valuable information. Through inclusion, individuals feel involved and therefore do not withhold any important information concerning the project. Communication is promoted through listening, giving feedback by responding to communication and observation. Diversity also improves decision making as it presents the group with several alternatives to choose from. When there is diversity the decision making process involves identification of constraints and limits, generation of alternatives, consideration of risks and finally choosing the most appropriate alternative to implement. With diversity, the group managed to accomplish all these and they all amounted to the quality of the resulting project.
Future projects should emphasize the importance of teamwork for effective results. My group showed team effort in the previous project. If the same is emphasized more, there will be increased levels of productivity. Secondly, before projects are begun, team building exercises should be developed to ensure formation of cohesive groups. When group members meet early before the project starts, they have a chance to interact and even become friends this promotes the quality of the work given to them. I had an organized group and it made it easier to work with the team members. However, in future, taking up a reasonable work load and setting clearer goals will ensure effective achievement of the project objectives.
Roles should also be given to group members to ensure that every one is indulged. Group members should also be able to keep track of their own contributions towards the project, this promotes concentration. I would recommend that we also assign more time to these group projects in future with my team members. There was enough time for the project but assigning more time will lead to improved results. Lastly, the group should develop evaluation methods and processes in the future projects. Evaluating one work once it has been completes gives an opportunity to reflect on the research and correct the mistakes made in the course of the project.
We did not encounter many challenges during the project which was beneficial for the group. Working with a small number of people proved easier and convenient. Every individual in my team was helpful and unique in their own way. In that regard we managed to incorporate new ideas which made our project different from the other. Ensuring diversity also worked in favor of the project. With gender and cultural representation in data collection, we were able to strike a balance which impacted on the quality of the resultant project. I would advise that we implement the recommendations made in future to overcome the previous challenges. Implementation of these recommendations will also encourage teamwork and diversity. All the lessons learnt in this project will enable every individual in my team to perform better in the next assignments.