The story of StudyGroupIt, as told by Terry A. Robinson, Founder and CEO of StudyGroupIt.com (SGI)…
In May of 2011 I began to contemplate and seriously wrestle with the idea of making a career change by moving into the world of IT. So I started looking into becoming a Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP).
Problem #1: Cost! The first thing I did not want to do was begin accumulating more student loan debt. I already had a MBA and hefty bill to go along with it.
Problem #2: Time! As much as I loved college, I really did not want to invest nearly the amount of time it took me to get my undergraduate degree.
I then spoke with co-workers and family in the IT industry, who suggested some alternatives. One suggestion was to consider going to a Professional Training Organization that specialized in preparing individuals through small structured class room environments, for the Certification Testing required. Although this would be much faster than taking traditional college courses, it was also very expensive.
The next suggestion was to simply “self-study” and prepare for Certification Testing on my own. This meant that all I needed to do was purchase the appropriate books for preparation; study and learn at my own pace. Once I felt confident that I could pass the test for Certification all I needed to do was; schedule, pay-for and take the test. I thought to myself, “I’m a smart guy, this should be easy!”
Problem #3: Self-Study! I immediately thought BINGO! Self-Study, that’s it! This has to be the answer to my problem; absolutely ingenious right? NOPE! Wrong answer! Let me explain. I got very excited; I jumped online, did some research and ordered what books I would need to help me get certified, and I started studying. What I did not count on, were:
- All the questions I had about the material, preparation, and concepts. But no one to talk with.
- How much I missed interacting and collaborating with other learners.
- Missing the ability to learn new concepts from others; debating what was wrong or right; and sharing my understanding of the subject.
- Lastly, how much fun it was to study with others who shared my educational interest and goals.
“Ok, now what?” I started thinking! I know what I need! All I need is a study-group! So I jumped online and started searching. I looked and I looked, and I looked some more! But I really could not find what I needed. This is when I also noticed that there were other learners, with all types of academic needs, also searching for study groups. So the question became; what exactly is it that I, and other learners, really need; and where could it be found?
Problem #4: Finding “True Study-Grouping”! I found very little information or help with forming a study group for my specific needs. No, I take that back! I did not find anything I needed. What few websites I did find that claimed to offer “study-group” services, did not provide (what I call) a true study-grouping experience”.
I know what you’re thinking, “true study-grouping”! What is that supposed to mean? Well, the few sites that are providing limited service only allow users to:
- Form groups based solely on the type of courses they are taking or books they have purchased.
- These groups that are formed are typically HUGE and you really don’t know who these people are.
- You do not know what your (so called) “group member’s” academic goals, interest, strengths and weaknesses may be.
- Communication within these groups is usually through, Q&A postings, mini-blogs, messaging boards, and if you are lucky, you might be able to share notes. Hopefully, the information you get, is actually helpful.
Sorry, but this is not “true study-group” learning.
The bottom line is if you have never met, spoke with, seen; or if you simply do not know anything about the members of your “study-group” (like their educational goals) then you really have not formed a “true study-group” that can help you successfully accomplish your academic goals.
The idea of StudyGroupIt (SGI) was born!
I began to envision learners using social networking and current collaborative tools to create educational relationships; inviting fellow classmates to actually study together; searching for and meeting “like-minded” learners who want to accomplish similar educational goals.
I imagined professors creating small team based learning curriculum, changing the dynamics of traditional learning, both inside and outside of the classroom; improving their student’s academic learning experience and overall performance.
I wanted to create an Educational Social Networking site to help learners facilitate study-groups hosted by members that are scheduled to take place through “live-local-meeting sessions” or through “online-live-collaborative meeting sessions”. This flexibility creates convenience, without impacting the group learning experience in a negative way, and creates GLOBAL learning opportunities for group study.
True study-grouping requires that learners meet with each other, work together, share ideas and teach one-another in a truly meaningful way. I’m sorry, but study group sites that provide glorified instant messaging to learners are not providing collaborative-learning opportunities.
Now-a-days just about everyone is aware of the impact that social networking has had on our world and how we connect with each other; personally and professionally. Billions of people worldwide connect with their family, friends and professional colleagues through social networking. Why not LEARNERS? I wanted to build an online academic-community that connects “like-minded learners”; helping them to achieve their educational goals through flexible collaborative-learning.
SGI is student and learner centric. We welcome your feedback and comments on what your individual and study-group facilitation needs are.