During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, online group study sessions started to become a thing. These sessions have become a lot more mainstream today and it’s easy to see why.
Western Sydney University reports that online learning is becoming more popular with each passing day, and there are many reasons for it. The reason why online group study sessions, in particular, are becoming popular, is because of the flexibility they provide. Anyone from any place at any time can join in, and no one needs to match their timing, at least rigorously.
However, successfully organizing and participating in an online group study session requires more than just a video call and a shared document. To make the most of your virtual study sessions, here are a few tips that will help you create an effective learning environment.
Set Clear Goals and Objectives
Before diving into an online study session, it’s crucial to define clear goals and objectives. Without a sense of purpose, group study sessions can easily become unproductive and unfocused.
Ask yourself and your group members a few questions. What are we trying to achieve during this study session? Are we reviewing specific topics, preparing for an upcoming exam, or brainstorming ideas for a project? Once you have a clear understanding of your objectives, you can tailor the session accordingly.
For instance, if you’re preparing for a history exam, your goal might be to discuss and summarize key historical events. In contrast, if you’re working on a group project, you may want to focus on brainstorming ideas, dividing tasks, and setting deadlines. Having well-defined goals will help everyone stay on track and make the most of the study session.
Choose the Right Collaboration Tools and Study Materials
Selecting the right tools and platforms for your online group study session is essential. Various applications and software are designed explicitly for collaborative learning, so take advantage of them.
Also, don’t hesitate to make the most of various online study materials and resources. You’ll find a lot of websites that provide interactive lessons as well. For online group study sessions, these resources can come in handy.
For instance, let’s say you’re struggling with chemistry. To be more specific, you’re struggling with the HCN Lewis structure. What you can do is hop on to a site where you can visualize the structure and then discuss it with your study mates.
According to Proprep, studying the HCN structure means you have to know its hydrogen atom, carbon atom, nitrogen atom, bond angle, valence electrons, etc. Thus, having an online resource to allow you and your friends to understand it visually will be very helpful.
Ensure that all participants are familiar with the chosen platform and have access to any necessary documents or resources. You should also ask around if any of them have any suggestions for such collaborative tools or study resources.
Establish Roles and Responsibilities
One of the key challenges in online group study sessions is maintaining organization and ensuring that everyone contributes. To address this, establish clear roles and responsibilities for each participant.
The University of Colorado Boulder recommends you spend some time getting to know each other first, especially if there are new people in the group. Doing so will help you understand what you’re all good and bad at. That way, the roles and responsibilities can be divided amongst you.
Assign a facilitator or moderator responsible for keeping the session on track. You can also have a timekeeper to monitor the schedule and a note-taker to record important points and ideas discussed during the session.
Roles can rotate in subsequent study sessions, allowing everyone to gain experience in different capacities. This ensures that each member has an active role and helps prevent one person from dominating the discussion while others remain passive. Distributing responsibilities fosters a sense of accountability and promotes a more inclusive learning environment.
Engage Actively Through Discussions and Collaboration
Online group study sessions should be dynamic and engaging to foster effective learning. Encourage active participation through discussions and collaborative activities.
Avoid simply reading from textbooks or slides. Instead, engage in meaningful conversations with your group mates. Pose questions, share your insights, and encourage others to do the same.
According to Harvard Business Publishing, learning from each other enables students to gain greater insights. It also helps them get inspiration and feel encouraged to improve on their own ideas.
Consider using discussion prompts, case studies, or problem-solving exercises to stimulate critical thinking and meaningful dialogue. Active engagement not only enhances comprehension but also makes the study session more enjoyable and memorable.
Organizing an effective online group study session involves careful planning, active participation, and continuous improvement. By following the tips above, you can create a collaborative learning environment that enhances comprehension and makes studying more enjoyable.
Online group study sessions have the potential to be just as effective as traditional in-person sessions when organized thoughtfully and executed with dedication. Thus, if you’re organizing such sessions, keep these tips in mind and do it right.