Student work groups in higher education are not always operational; teachers should use methods for the early detection of dysfunctions to help remedy deficiencies that hamper group effectiveness. We have found that polling at different moments in an activity is instrumental in spurring groups to correct their shortcomings. This paper presents the perceptions of a cohort of engineering students, whose group work was improved as a result of polling during a telematic simulation with student teams from other countries. Qualitative analysis of the students’ personal reflections shows that several factors were related to active participation and group effectiveness. These included greater familiarity among members, awareness of group performance, efficient interand intra-group communication, suitable task distribution and work organization.