A study group is a great way to work collaboratively with others to consolidate and learn concepts and understand the information in preparation for exams or discussions. There are numerous benefits of learning within a social context.
These benefits include exposure to different ways of thinking, reinforcement of information, motivation and support for learning, and retention of information. However, for a study group session to be effective, it requires the guidance of an effective leader. Below is a look at how you can become a great study group leader.
The main role of a group leader is to guide their team during a certain initiative or towards an end goal. As a study group leader, you are responsible for creating a collaborative study environment, determining the direction of the study session, and encouraging participation.
Understanding your roles and responsibilities will allow you to guide effective group discussions. In the context of your study group, below are some responsibilities that you may be tasked with:
A great study group leader is well prepared for the sessions. A good place to start is having a well-formulated plan for the sessions. Organization is one of the most important qualities of a great study group leader.
An effective study group plan can include aspects such as structuring the group, conducting the sessions, and session rules. You can always refer to your plan at any point during the group study session for direction. Your plan will be a key element in moving the team toward the study objectives.
Communication can make or break a study group as it’s crucial for the progress of any discussions. Like any leadership position, excellent communication skills are vital as a study group leader. You must be able to clearly and effectively communicate with the study group members about the goals, responsibilities of each member, study session rules, and updates on the discussion progress.
Note that effective communications skills take time to develop. Important areas you can start with include face-to-face communication, non-verbal communication, effective listening, giving feedback, and conflict resolution. If it’s your first try as a study group leader, have a communication plan. This is essentially a blueprint of the type of communication you will use (verbal or non-verbal) and where, when, and how you will use them.
No project goes off without a problem or two, and that applies to group study sessions. That’s why as a study group leader, it's important to improve your problem-solving skills. Working on this crucial area allows you to think on your feet whenever an issue arises that derails the progress of the study sessions or threatens to invalidate the end goal altogether.
A good practice to be better at problem-solving is to prioritize the components of the study sessions as you plan them. Doing so allows you to determine the problems that should be solved first for the benefit of the team. There are also some questions you can ask yourself to help you solve problems in session.
How are the group members approaching the subject? What’s the most important aspect that they need to focus on? How will the decision affect the group and the discussion progress? A great team leader also invites the group members to contribute to solving the problems. Communicate the problems to your group and encourage the members to forward solutions.
Overall, every study group needs a competent and effective team leader. If this responsibility falls on you, you will be tasked with guiding the study agenda and ensuring you support your group towards achieving the study goals.
You may have all various roles depending on the study topic/context, group members, and structure. Nonetheless, if you can work on and improve several skills, including goal/workload management, organization, communication, delegating, time management, problem-solving, and team building, you will be on your way to becoming a great study group leader.