How to make group study productive?

Group study is an invaluable tool not just for students, but also for professionals who sometimes need help in tackling complex problems. With group study, students are able to share limited resources and get much help in explaining difficult lessons. Professionals, especially those involved in research, get fresh perspectives from other experts who help in studying problems to reach the most effective solutions. There are many things that can be done in order to make group study very productive.

The key to any successful endeavor is careful and through planning. Just as planning is vital in building a house or organizing an event, planning can make group study successful and beneficial to everyone who participate in it. Important details are laid out when planning for a group study, such as the number of participants, who are allowed to join the group study, venue, schedule of meetings, ground rules, and duration.

The objective of the group study must be very clear with all participants. Why hold a group study in the first place? Most group studies are organized as a tutorial-like companion to a regular class wherein classmates meet regularly to review and discuss together all lessons covered in the class. Having a clear objective for a group study ensures that all expectations are evidently defined.

To give an unambiguous direction, it is wise to have a detailed outline that will serve as a blueprint for the whole proceedings of the group study. Having an outline will save precious preparation time as all participants will already have an idea of what to expect in the succeeding meetings. With a clear outline in mind, group study participants can make individual plans ahead of time.

Agreeing to hold a group study will mean that participants will have to squeeze in and allocate a number of hours to their busy schedule. For a group study to be effective the agreed meeting schedule must be followed religiously and the group study leader must make sure to notify all participants immediately in case of postponements, canceled meetings, change of schedule, or change of venue.

Group study will also be more meaningful if some milestones or things to achieve periodically are established beforehand. For instance, if the study group meets once a week every Saturday, then the milestones could be set every last Saturday of the month. To make things more exciting, the study group could hold mock exams and give rewards to top achievers. This will certainly spice up the interest of all participants.

It would also be great if the study group invite some subject matter experts or classmates who are top achievers in the class. There will always be times when the participants encounter difficulties in understanding certain topics. Experts could then be consulted to explain further difficult subjects.

A study group can be much more productive if it appoints a good leader. A good leader must always guide the study group into the right direction in order to meet its objectives and expectations.