How would you help students to enhance their collaborative studying strategies? Unfortunately this is not an easy question to answer. Research shows that, on average, college students have more experience meeting in groups. We know that their expertise can help younger students, however, and we can take a page from that book as well as others like the experts at Griffith University or TeachThought.
The first thing that may come to mind when you hear “collaborative studying” is groups in the library getting together to study. Certain norms or ground rules lend themselves to collaborative studying, but the drawback can be that some people end up doing most of the work. That said, with the right approach, students can get over this hurdle and many more in the process.
Our digital students love to share and collaborate on everything—they wouldn’t have it any other way. The following are smart collaborative studying strategies for all students.
1. Understand that collaborative studying can be more effective
Groups lend themselves to opportunities for discussion, clarification, and evaluation of each other’s contributions.
- Take the time to write your own thoughts and ideas before coming to the group.
- Keep groups midsized. Ideal is 4 to 5.
- Know and bring your strengths to the group.
2. Establish the core tenets of your group
- Know each other’s communication style. Get to know all members personally.
- Incorporate ground rules to ensure safety, openness and full cooperation.
- Time is essential. Honor deadlines and timetables.
- Know your role.
- Document study meetings in the form of minutes.
3. With core tenets in place, tackle the problem at hand
- Understand the assignment
- Organize tasks and deadlines.
- Delegate among group members according to their strengths.
- Regularly meet for review.
4. Be ready to use online methods of communication
Online task managers are designed from the ground up with experienced collaborators. They can shed light on how your team can improve its offline group mindset.
- Set regular times to meet online.
- Read, respond and contribute; participate fully.
- Be knowledgeable of online etiquette, protocol and methods.
5. Incorporate strategic contingency plans as problems arise
- First, try to resolve problems as a group.
- Contact teacher for unresolvable problems.
Group work is a microcosm of the business world. Students will find themselves working together with countless others, possibly from all over the globe. That’s why ultimately it’s well worth your students’ efforts to acquire and practice these collaborative studying strategies. In doing so, they will be well prepared for teamwork in the global future.