Give members incentive to attend, contribute and achieve
You may recall a recent Branford Hall blog post that focused on collaborating to get efficient course work done. Along those lines, a lot of career training students have been known to form 3-5 person study groups as well.
While the topics may vary (depending on the program), here are seven ways a study group can motivate each member, while working to achieve several agreed-upon goals.
1. Prepare an agenda. Group moderators are usually responsible for emailing an agenda out to members 24 hours before every session. That agenda is designed to keep each meeting focused, while ensuring that pertinent items get discussed.
2. Rotate moderators. Designating a different moderator every week encourages a round-table environment where no group member can be considered more important than any others. Doing so may also enable students to develop stronger leadership potential.
3. Set a time limit. Setting a limit for every meeting will help to keep the agenda on-target. Otherwise, every session runs the risk of veering off-topic, causing career-minded students to reconsider whether it’s beneficial to attend.
4. Begin every meeting with some praise. Acknowledge a group member’s birthday or commend an academic achievement. Find a unique way to start off every meeting by putting the attendees in a positive frame of mind.
5. Include activities to keep it light. Some groups split into pairs, allowing members to quiz one another. Others might hold a competition or mock game show. In the end, what every group is trying to accomplish is balance – a way of learning the necessary material that also allows for a little bit of fun.
6. Give every member a role. Some responsibilities may be as simple as providing snacks; others may require a certain level of participation. Play to people’s strengths. It empowers them while increasing the probability that no one ends up feeling like the odd group member out.
7. Encourage feedback. Ask group members for suggestions via email. Discourage negative comments by requesting members focus on solutions (as opposed to pointing out problems). The goal should be to maximize productivity, while helping the group as a whole achieve more than its parts.