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Advantages and Disadvantage of Group study
12/5/2021 11:07:12 PM

Vijay GarG

When the students study in small groups and share their views on a common educational topic, it is called studying in a group or group study. The group so formed is called a study group. The study group usually comprises of students which study in the same class or the same batch. It is not necessary that the students of a study group know each other. Before forming a study group it should be seen that the all the participating students must share a common topic or syllabus for studying so that they can share their views with each other. The participating students regularly meet and discuss the topics with each other. The group may be formal or informal. Informal study groups are formed by the students in their friend circle for studying together the difficult topics or to prepare for exams. The formal groups are formed by the authorities or the faculty in schools and colleges or at the offices for working on a common project. In these types of group, the participants meet for researching a topic and to prepare a group project which is to be submitted to the schools, colleges or offices.
How to form a Study Group?
Forming a study group is not an easy task. Furthermore, there are many consequences. The group may be or may not be successful. Forming a study group needs many wise decisions. Here are some points which should be kept in mind while forming a study group:
Deciding the Number of Members: The first decision to be taken is about the number of members in the group. The maximum number of students in a study group should not be more than five. This is a very important decision as the number of students has a direct impact on the group. If the numbers of students are very less, that is, just two members of the group, the group will be very inefficient. There will be a limited discussion. The group will turn out to be very boring. For a healthy discussion, two people are not enough. Often, when two people study together it is not termed as a group study. If the number of students is very large, that is, eight to ten members in a group or even more than that, then also the group will be very inefficient and unsuccessful. It is so because it is very difficult to communicate with so many students at a time during a discussion. Most of the people feel ignored. Moreover, time management becomes very difficult. All the students may not be free at a common time. In this case, it becomes very difficult to decide a fixed time for studying in a group. Deciding on a place for studying also becomes a problem as more number of students needs more seating arrangements to be made. So, deciding the number of students in the study group is the first and foremost decision to be made.
Choosing the Members of Groups: The second decision should be to select who all will form a part of your group. While choosing the students, a number of members should be kept in mind. The members should be chosen in such a way so that they can make the group efficient. Taking an example, suppose a student wants to form a study group for the preparation of his final exams, he should choose the members in such a way that neither all the members should be too intelligent nor all of them should be very weak in studies. If all the students are very weak, there will be no one in the group who can take the responsibility of teaching other members. If all of them are very intelligent, the group turns out to be useless. The intelligent students will know almost everything in the syllabus and there will be no topic for discussion. Each and every member will then prefer self-study. The intelligence level of the group members should be balanced. The group should comprise of weak students as well as the intelligent ones so that the intelligent students can teach the weak students. In this way, the weak students will get to know and understand the topics and it will be a revision for the intelligent students. Before choosing the members, it should be kept in mind that none of the members possesses any hard feeling for any other member of the group. This may lead to conflicts in the group leading to the failure of the study group. Therefore, the members of the group should be chosen wisely for the successful functioning of the group.
Choosing Leader: Every group requires a leader or a captain. The leader should be so chosen such that he is familiar with all the other members of the group. The leader would be responsible for almost everything in the group. The leader will organize meetings for the group. It is the responsibility of the leader to check that any discussion in the group should not take an unhealthy form. The leader should take the decisions about the timings of the groups. The leader will decide where the group members will meet. Also, it is the duty of the leader to regularly communicate with all the members for the proper functioning of the group. The leader should send regular emails or text messages to the members to fix the next meeting of the group.
Deciding Timings and Venue: The timings and the venue for the group meetings should be chosen in such a way that all the members are comfortable with it. In case, a group member is not comfortable with the timings or the venue, it should be immediately changed. If this is not done, the person will feel ignored and may exit the group. The timing should be so chosen that all the members are free at that time. While choosing the venue, it should be seen that all the members can easily reach over there. If the venue is very far or very near to the residence of any group member, it may lead to conflicts.
Study or Research Plans: Before forming the group, it should be decided that which all topics will be discussed in the group. The topics chosen should be of common interest to all the group members. After every meeting of the group, it is the duty of the group leader to decide the next topic, with the consent of other members of the group, which will be discussed in the next meeting of the group. It will be a very effective plan if a proper timetable is made indicating which topic will be discussed in which meeting.
Connect with Experts: Connect the group with one of the experts like a professor or a teacher who can guide all the members on the topics of discussion. While studying together, any doubt in any topic occurs; the group members should be able to contact the teacher for their help. It is a very important task because the students cannot have answers to every question. While studying new thing there may be a lot of doubts which other members of the group fail to explain. In this, an expert advice is needed.
What are the Characteristics of a Successful Study Group?
For a successful study group, these are the characteristics:
Each group member participates in the discussion. Only then the discussion can be healthy. If any member is quite all the time during the discussion it indicates that the topic is not of his interest or he is not satisfied with the group.
The group members should listen to each other. The discussion should not take the form of a debate. Any member should not interrupt while another member is speaking.
The group members should be already prepared with the topic of discussion. If all the members are already prepared it leads to a healthy discussion and a good exchange of knowledge.
There should be no hesitation among the group members. They should be able to ask questions of each other very freely. If this is not the case, the doubts may remain in the minds of the members which may cause a problem in the future.
While discussing, the members should not move to any other topic. There should be a consistent discussion on a single topic.
The group members should respect each other. There should be no hard feelings. There should be no criticism while discussion.
What are the Advantages of Study Group?
There are many advantages of studying in groups. These advantages make group study the first and foremost choice of some students in exam time. They are described below:
Regularity: When the student has to do self-study, it is likely that he will postpone it to some other time just due to laziness. In such a situation, a student who does not like studying will not study properly. But in the case of group study, regularity is maintained. It becomes compulsory for all the members to regularly participate in the discussion organized by the group. In this way, even those students who are unwilling to study will have to study regularly. The group should be disciplined enough that there is no place of excuses for studies from anyone.
Better Learning and Understanding: Every student cannot understand all the topics in the syllabus but every student definitely understands some topics of the syllabus. This is the key factor which makes studying in group advantageous for all the students. The can explain the topics which they know properly to the other members of the group. Moreover, during self-study, some topics are so difficult that they could not be understood alone. They require help. This help isis sometimes provided by the study group. In this way, every student gets to know each and every topic of the syllabus. Moreover, students retain in their mind the things they talk about. If they discuss the topics related to their syllabi in the study group, they will retain it in their mind. This nullifies the need for cramming.
Different Perspectives: Every student does not think the same. While doing self-study, a student will think only in one single direction. This provides him with limited knowledge only. Moreover, due to thinking in one direction can cause the student to different things to be the same. This ultimately leads to confusion or incorrect knowledge. In the case of group study, the students will discuss with each what their perspectives on the topics are. The thinking ability of all the students is increased in this way. The different possibilities associated with the topics arise in the minds of the students.
Makes Learning Enjoyable: While studying for a long time, a student get tired. Self-study usually becomes boring. Sometimes, the students may also fall asleep. But, while studying in a group, learning is not a burden; rather it is a fun task. Students enjoy while discussing the topics and learning becomes way more interesting.
Less Stress: Mostly, the students are very tensed before the exams. While studying in groups, the students feel relaxed. The atmosphere becomes lighter. With less stress, there are more chances to succeed in the exams.
Enhanced Communication Skills: During a group study, students interact with each other. There is a healthy discussion going amongst them. This discussion boosts their confidence. It also increases their vocabulary. Communication skills of the student are enhanced.
What are the Disadvantages of Group Study?
With so many advantages, there are a few disadvantages associated with group study. Some of them are:
Losing Way: While studying in groups, the members often lose their ways from the topics and the discussion goes to another topic. A lot of time is wasted in this wasted in this way. As the members meet for small fixed time, wasting time is not at all acceptable for the effective functioning of the group.
Gossips: when the members also form a social group apart from a study group, gossips are the only thing which happens during the group meeting. Everyone discusses the random stuff rather than discussing the topics which were already decided for discussion. If the members are classmates, they may start complaining about their teachers and other classmates. This makes the study group unsuccessful and useless.
Conflicting Topics: It becomes very difficult to choose a topic which is of a common interest to all the students. This may lead to conflicts in the group. Some people may also even exit the group.
Inefficient Decision: If the decision about the timing, venue, and the number of members, topics or selecting the group members are not properly taking, it may lead to failure of the group. It is a very hard task to take these decisions. A lot of things have to be kept in mind before taking these decisions. Despite so much thinking, the decisions usually turn out to be failures because it is very difficult o lt make a decision which keeps all the group members happy.
Conclusion
Studying in groups is a fun task. But it should be noted that the study group does not turn into an only fun group or a social group. During the group meetings, only the pre-decided topics should be discussed. The leader should be responsible for maintaining discipline in the group. But if someone is very shy and is not able to interact with group member, group study is not meant for him. The student should then go for self-study. He should not waste his time by studying in groups as it will not be fruitful for him.
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