One of the best ways to study is with friends. Although group study is common in most U.S. schools but in some Asian schools, group study is NOT encouraged because there is a competitive attitude among students . My students often said that by study with friends they can improve their understanding of the course materials better than study individually, also being in a study group increased their motivation to study.
I always encourage students to form a small group to study together by giving them some guidance as follows:
- Keep the group small, no more than five people. More than that would be difficult to keep everyone on the same learning level.
- Study only with friends in the same class so they can share materials, goals, and exchange information.
- Each member must study the materials BEFORE meeting so they can discuss and learn from others.
- Set a firm schedule to meet and stick with it. The group should meet often for shorter periods of time. Longer than an hour is less effective and often easily get distracted by gossip.
- Each group must have a meeting agenda to decide beforehand what will be studied the next session and what group members need to do to come prepared.
- Any members who are NOT prepared and not participate will be asked to leave the group.
- Members must be able to explain things to each other. Ask each other questions.
- Group study is NOT about reading the materials but discuss the materials to get deep learning.
- Exercise and homework should be done individually, NOT in the group.
- Blogs of Prof. John Vu, Carnegie Mellon University