Learning is an essential element of living. There's always something new to learn. It could be a new skill, or a new way of doing things. Perhaps the information on a certain topic has become outdated and you need to keep abreast of developments. Whatever the situation, learning is ongoing and it is lifelong. However, for many people, learning on their own can be challenging. Wading through pages of material may be offputting. That's why, for many, group learning offers a great option. We will therefore explore the 5 key benefits of learning in groups.
1. Exchange of thoughts and ideas
Many subjects or topics require some level of reasoning. It's not just about regurgitating what you have been given, but the ability to apply it to different scenarios. Group learning facilitates the exchange of thoughts and ideas, and allows you to get a different perspective. Your eyes may be opened to looking at things in a way you would never have considered, thereby broadening your thinking. As the expression goes, 'there's more than one way to skin a cat'. Group learning allows you to explore various perspectives and gain a broader appreciation of the topic.
A word of caution, however, based on my own experience. I remember being part of a study group while in college. It was such a huge help for those areas in which I was weak, while allowing me to develop my skills and confidence in my stronger areas. However, there were some members who were so dedicated that they went from one group to another. Tonight they would be would be with one group for a specific subject. Tomorrow they would be with another group for another subject. Those were the persons who performed poorly on exams. If you're with a group, learn and develop together. Learn to understand each other and help each other. But if your group is full of time-wasters who aren't serious about work, move on. Your time is precious.
2. Motivation and encouragement
It's easy to get demotivated and fall into the habit of procrastination when you're studying on your own. Let's face it, if you're not particularly fond of the subject the temptation to put off studying will be great. If it's too complicated or difficult, the television or social media might prove more interesting or entertaining. However, if you're part of a group, they can provide the encouragement and motivation you need to push through. When you feel like giving up, there might just be someone in the group to help you refocus. This is especially true if you fail a test or exam and consider dropping the subject. That's when your group can really get you back on track.
3. Cooperative learning
Trying to understand difficult or confusing concepts on your own can make learning more challenging. However, within a group setting, members can discuss and figure out topics together. Those who understand are able to help those falling behind. Thus, learning takes place at a much quicker pace than trying to do it on your own. Additionally, different individuals can take on different topics, hence much more work gets done. It also gives individuals the space to disagree and reason together as they listen to different viewpoints.
During my study group sessions, there were specific subject areas assigned to me. I learned to master those topics as I taught them to the group. Having the chance to explain and teach those concepts increased my understanding. That's the benefit of cooperative learning. I was no good at Maths, and having group members teach me was much more effective and beneficial than listening to my tutor.
4. Discussion and Communication
Since working in the outside world often requires being part of a team, group study is a great training ground. Creative thinking and good communication are important elements of studying with a group. These skills are great for building confidence and provide a strong foundation for academic achievement. This helps the individual to develop as a student, a person and a professional. Discussion and communication also help with honing one's understanding of the material. As different thoughts and ideas are aired, understanding is broadened and greater clarity is achieved.
Interaction and Enjoyment
One of the key benefits of group learning is the interatcion and enjoyment it provides. Studying alone, working your way through pages of material can be difficult and boring.
It's also lonely and can prove really discouraging. However, the interaction within a group can lift the burden of studying. There is opportunity for laughter, a bit of levity, and lively discussions which replace the monotony and draining nature of individual study. Thus, learning can provide greater fulfilment while proving quite enjoyable.
Enjoy the benefits of a study group
Remember that we learn better when we learn together. The benefits of studying in groups are not to be taken lightly. You will be able to exchange thoughts and ideas, and receive motivation and encouragement for those times when you feel like giving up. Cooperative learning will allow you to figure out difficult concepts together. You will benefit greatly from the discussion and communication on the variuos topics. Additionally, the enjoyment you will receive from interacting with the group is priceless.
What your study group should not be
Just be sure to choose your group wisely. Not all groups are effective, and sometimes they just do not benefit the members at all. Ensure that your group is serious about learning, and are focused. A bit of fun and enjoyment can enhance learning, but should not dominate your time together. Also, if the members are all on the same level and none is able to help the other, you need to find another group.
Group study should develop your confidence as you are able to express your thoughts and ideas. It should not be a place where members are belittled or ridiculed for voicing their opinions. Acceptance and tolerance are important, otherwise the purpose will be defeated. So go ahead, find your tribe and get to work. You will be amazed at how much you will gain from the right study group.