1. Study groups allow you to save time when a “divide and conquer” strategy is practiced. Try not to duplicate work, other than for cross referencing purposes. Dividing up assignments can help group members save valuable study time and make your efforts much more efficient. That saved time can be applied towards different class assignments or better yet personal time which can help you prevent “burn-out” and stress.
2. Potentially save money by using study groups instead of 1-on-1 tutoring expenses. Although 1-on-1 tutoring can be very effective in helping learners improve their grades, it can also be very expensive. Tutoring can cost as much as $60.00 dollars per hour; with an the average tutoring time being an hour for in person “Face-to-Face” tutoring and 30 minutes for typical online tutoring services; with an average of number of sessions being 2 to 3 sessions per week. That could cost you as much as $90 to $180 per week for 1-on-1 tutoring services.
Study groups are generally free and can be just as academically effective at improving your class room and testing performance. Instructors have indicated that students participating in study groups or team based learning can improve their grades by one full grade-letter.
3. As mentioned previously, study groups have proven to help individuals improve class performance and increase grades. This naturally reduces the possibility of course failure. Therefore, helping to reduce the need to retake expensive courses where the minimum requirements are not met or where there is a need for greater course understanding due to a learner’s independent efforts failing to produce the desired academic results.
4. Study groups should consider “Group-Tutoring” at “Shared-Cost”. If your study group can use more structured help and subject matter expertise, then Group-Tutoring may be the answer. Rather than paying for 1-on-1 tutoring, perhaps your group can locate a tutor that is willing to instruct your group at a shared group-rate. This can reduce that high-end weekly tutoring rate of $180.00 for 1-on-1 service (mentioned above) to a low cost of just $30.00 per-week/per-person for a study group of 6 members. That is a very reasonable cost, for even cash strapped college students, when your study group is struggling with a very difficult course. Be sure to choose a proven tutor, who has a history of success in the subject matter that your group needs assistance with. The tutor should also be comfortable with facilitating or managing small groups. Great candidates for group-tutoring are Graduate Assistants, Teachers and “Professional” Tutors.
5. Usually, the only cost you might consider as a member of a study group is if your group elects to pay for use of a top notch online meeting service that offers high quality virtual meeting and group facilitation tools that are usually afforded to corporate work teams (i.e. Go To Meeting and Webex). Utilizing great online meeting tools may have to be purchased, but they can also save you time and money, when “convenience” and travel expenses are considered. Rather than meeting at a coffee shop or library, online meetings can eliminate the cost of driving or the inconvenience of “hoofing” it across campus or town. Although various versions of these types of services can be found for free (i.e. Google “Hangouts” or Skype), remember that old adage “you get what you pay for”. Most of the free services will not meet the typical needs necessary to create highly effective and efficient online meeting experience which should include many of the following features: A. Accommodates 3 to 8 group members; B. High Quality Video and Audio; C. White Board & Screen Sharing; D. Document Sharing, Saving and Editing; E. Recorded Meeting Sessions: These just to name a few necessary features that most free online meeting programs do not offer.
6. Study groups can also save you time by reducing the amount of time necessary for independent study time through combined group efforts placed toward note taking; specific test preparation; and through shared resources. Study groups can help fill “learning-gaps” you may be experiencing, that valuable time would usually need to be spent on through required independent study time.
7. Have you ever been bitten by the procrastination bug? Participating in study groups discourages the procrastination that can be an issue when studying independently and lead to independent learners wasting huge amounts of time. How often have you found yourself willing to do anything, except study. In a study group you are encouraged to participate and you feel compelled to study because others depend you as much as you depend on them for both group and individual academic success.
8. College classes can have very overwhelming workloads and study groups can help to relieve that pressure by allowing you to better manage your workload and scheduling. Additionally, study group participation can reduce an individual’s time spent on dealing with “Test Anxiety”. Instructors have indicated that study groups improve student test performance when working with others to prepare for test. This can help to ensure your level of preparedness and offer a typically independent learner a secondary vote of confidence.
9. Study groups help you to understand and absorb information more efficiently. Students learn concepts faster when utilizing Team Based Learning approaches. Study group participants also learn new study skills from other members that can help them become more efficient.
10. Studying independently can be boring and monotonous which seems to (if not literally) slows time down. Study groups can be fun and add a social aspect to your learning, which helps to make studying fun and causes time to “fly by”.
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