Study Group Skills

by frank-stuart

Human beings are social creatures. We work best when we are part of a network of people and we feel that we belong – from our family, to our circle of friends, to a group of people undergoing a similar experience, like a course of study. That’s why study groups are so effective. Bringing together people to gain group work skills who are travelling the same path of study makes a lot of sense. Here are some reasons why!

  • It’s Fun – It’s hard to keep your motivation to study when you’re doing it alone. When you join a study group, there are others who can help you stay motivated. You’ll find yourself looking forward to studying because you’re doing it in the context of spending time with a circle of friends.
  • It’s Enlightening – The true strength of a study group is that you learn from the members of your group. Every individual has a unique way of thinking and solving problems. Discussions in study groups can lead to sharing these concepts and approaches, adding to your tool box of skills and knowledge bank even without conscious effort. You will also get to learn by teaching. The best way to really solidify your own knowledge is to try to explain it in understandable terms to another person.
  • It’s Efficient – By collaborating, and building on each other’s ideas, study groups can achieve more creative outcomes not even dreamed about by an individual within a group. Also, the members of a study group can easily spread the load and achieve more in a shorter span of time.
  • It’s Cooperative – It’s a forum to check your assumptions, questions, concerns and successes within a supportive framework of individuals who care about each other and are committed to helping each other do their best. From comparing lecture notes, to teaching each other difficult concepts, and working on assignments to studying for exams, an important facet of study group skills is collaboration.

Study groups can be highly effective means of gaining valuable group work skills, but they can also potentially be a great time waster, so being mindful of the following details pays good dividends…

Assembling your team

The optimal number of people is 4 – 6 people within the study group. Also, observe your class mates and approach people who take their study seriously to make sure everyone is equally committed and pulls their weight.

Running your study group

  • Make sure you plan a regular time to meet, so that the study group is on the weekly timetable.
  • Determine the amount of time you’ll spend studying and plan the session to wisely use the time.
  • Before the week’s session agree with the group what you need to cover.
  • To make sure you use the time effectively, all participant’s need to come prepared – having read relevant lecture notes and texts so as to hit the road running at the session.
  • Ensure everyone feels that they can contribute in their own way. Study groups work best when there is universal participation.

Study groups are an excellent way to consolidate your own learning and practice the art of group work skills. What better preparation for the workforce that awaits you after study.

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