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5 Collaborative Studying Strategies for Better Group Learning

How would you help students to enhance their collaborative studying strategies? Research shows that, on average, college students have more experience meeting in groups. We know that their expertise can help younger students, however. Further, we can take a page from the wisdom of others like the experts at Griffith University or TeachThought.

Collaboration is at the heart of modern learning, which is why we developed Collaboration Fluency. We define it as team working proficiency that lets students work cooperatively with virtual and real partners in online and face-to-face environments. These skills are used to help learners create original solutions to real-world problems. Collaboration Fluency is defined by the 5Es: Establish, Envision, Engineer, Execute, and Examine. In as much as Collaboration Fluency thrives in high-intensity teamwork environments, it has so many other applications to learning. One of these is a presence in collaborative studying strategies like the ones we discuss below.

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.

5 Collaborative Studying Strategies Learners Love

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 study groups midsized, ideally no more than 4 or 5.
  • Know and bring your strengths to the group.

2. Establish the core tenets of your group.

  • Know each other’s communication style and get to know all members personally.
  • Incorporate ground rules to ensure safety, openness, and full cooperation.
  • Honour deadlines and timetables, because productive use of time is essential.
  • Know your role and what you are responsible for.
  • Document study meetings in the form of minutes.

3. With core tenets in place, tackle the problem at hand.

  • Understand the assignment completely, and share that understanding across the team.
  • Organize tasks and deadlines and ensure everyone is clear on them.
  • Delegate among group members according to their strengths and talents.
  • 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.
  • Participate fully by reading, responding to, and contributing to online discussions.
  • 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 the teacher for  problems.

Group work is a microcosm of the business world. In their future working environments 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.Critical Thinking Companion