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How to Get Maximum Benefit from Your Online Study Groups

How to Get Maximum Benefit from Your Online Study Groups


Taking an online college course can be a lonely way to pursue your degree, but only if you choose to make it so. Online collaboration has become an important business communication tool and now students taking classes on the internet have caught on to the benefits of networking technology. Online study groups have become commonplace, bringing the power of peer assistance to those who can’t physically get together with classmates.  With help from cloud-based collaboration applications, you can join, or even form an online study group.

Online study groups can be of particular benefit if you are an adult student, returning to the world of academic study during a career break. You may even be taking a college class while working: this doesn’t allow for too much study time so working with others can help to compensate. To that end, mature students often claim that online study groups are actually more convenient than physical group learning activities. You can spend time with your virtual group without even having to leave your home.

Given that shared study online is a different experience to working in a physical group, there are some things you should bear in mind to extract the most benefit from your online study groups.

Discuss Problems and Check Understanding

When confronting hard to master concepts or dealing with a particularly difficult assignment, it can be hard to stay motivated when you are learning remotely. When you are in session with your online group, take the opportunity to discuss the problems you’re having with your fellow students. Also, use the study group as a sounding board to check that you understand a concept correctly.

It can take longer to get to know the members of your group in an online environment. This makes it important to dive right in and start interacting. By showing early on that you are keen to draw on the knowledge and strengths of others in the group, you can break down the barriers that otherwise stem from a lack of familiarity.

Give as Much as You Get

While being prepared to show your areas of weakness and let others help you, don’t treat your online study groups purely as information sources. Study groups are a two way street. In university, working together in the same room is naturally conducive to two-way interaction, making it hard not to speak up if you have the answers someone needs. An online college study group, on the other hand, makes it easy to sit quiet and contribute as little as possible. Taking this approach, however, is detrimental to your own development.

Help any fellow student who is struggling to understand something and don’t be afraid to chip into the chat if you have something constructive to share. Remember, you can’t indicate your wish to speak up with body language in an online group, so you will just have to come out and say what you want to. Also, be prepared to share resources with the rest of the group, such as study notes.

Forget that it’s a Virtual Study Group

In general study for your online college degree, you don’t take your classes any less seriously than if you were attending a physical institution. It pays to treat your online study groups in the exact same way. Forget that you are meeting in a virtual environment and treat the study group exactly as you would if you were meeting at a campus facility.

Prepare yourself and your material for each group session. Be sure to log in just before the appointed session time, every time. Don’t keep your fellow students waiting. Treat all other group members with respect and value their input, even if you don’t agree with what someone is saying. Don’t allow web surfing or social networking to distract you from your group session.

Let Study Groups be Your Motivation

You are a long time studying for your chosen qualification: two years for an associate’s degree and four years for a bachelor’s degree. If you play an active part in your online study groups during this time, you will learn a lot about collaboration. Over that time period, working online in groups will become an even more important business activity. By the time you graduate, the collaboration skills you gain from group study will make desirable entries on your job resume.

If you haven’t yet chosen an online college, don’t forget to check out the extensive database at You can search for a suitable college and course without any need for sign-up or disclosure of personal information.



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