How to Work in Groups in Online Study

Online Study

A lot of students now opt to study online because of the sheer convenience that this medium of education offers. However, studying online has its own challenges. You have to be a motivated individual who dedicatedly keeps up with the online classes and assignments, and collaborates with other individuals to form study groups for better understanding of the subject. Now you’re probably aware that study groups are one of the many ways that enhance the process of learning and assignment completion. However, how does this process function online? How can you ensure that you find like-minded individuals who are as dedicated as you? Here, we provide you with a few tips that tell you how to work in groups in online study successfully.

Tips for Online Group Work

An online study group allows students from all over the world to conduct virtual meetings. More often than not, it is the online university website that offers students the opportunity to develop forums for various subjects. A group is created and moderated by one student who then monitors who can be a part of the group, and the different discussions that are occurring in the forum. This medium is extremely advantageous for students who are bound by time and cannot spend too much traveling and meeting everyone personally. But can virtual group study be as effective as real group study? Yes it can, if the following tips are adhered to.

Be Proactive

As mentioned earlier, in order to benefit from online group study, you have to be an active member of any forum you join or create. Not only will you be exposed to a multitude of perspectives of different people from different parts of the world, you will also be able to offer your opinion and point of view on a subject. This will make the entire study session more interactive and thorough.

Seek other Proactive Students

Again, not only you, the other students who join the study group should be as proactive as you are. There are a lot of individuals who join study groups just to benefit from what is being discussed, but do not participate in any way. Such individuals should not be allowed to be parts of such groups because it is unfair to those who are really putting in an effort to make the process of combined study work.

Keep Discussion Groups Small

When a discussion group is overcrowded it becomes difficult to monitor ongoing discussions and dissuades students from participating in the group. As such, these groups should be limited to 4-6 committed individuals who regularly update discussions and keep the group active.

Meet Online Regularly

All group members should decide a specific time (considering all time zones) to meet online on specific days. This is so that discussions can occur simultaneously and time isn’t wasted waiting for an answer from the others. A lot of groups tend to meet on Skype or such messengers where conference calls can be easily made. Moreover, Facebook pages are also created to make this process simpler. Just ensure that every member is comfortable with whatever medium of communication you choose.

Define Member Roles in Group Meetings

Before you meet online ensure that every group member has been given specific material to prepare and provide inputs on so that you can have active and meaningful discussions. They should also be given a role to play. For instance, there should be one individual who will initiate group discussion, while another one will ensure that the discussion remains on track. Another individual should be responsible for keeping a record of the chat or the discussion and for recapping the discussion in the next online meeting.

Home Versus Travel-based Language Learning

Language Learning

When you have set your mind on learning a new language, you are in the position to choose how to start learning it. You basically have three options: starting a practical home-based language learning course (possibly an online one), starting a so-called “travel-based” learning experience that would have you travel to a country speaking the language you intend to learn for at least a couple of weeks, or a combination of the two. We will try to dissect these two language learning methods and compare them to see which one is best (or which one is more appropriate for you).

First of all, home-based language courses have two great advantages: they are cheaper and they are more comfortable. Regardless of the language you are learning, you will most likely find dozens of “Learn it yourself” course books as they are in high demand. If they are structured correctly, these courses can actually build a solid foundation for the foreign language you are learning if you can spend enough time and energy to truly focus on each lesson and tackle any problems you might be hindered by.

If you prefer, you also have the option of taking a free online language course provided by one of the many sites focusing on language learning (such as Internet Polyglot for example). These free online courses are even more comfortable (and cheaper of course) than if you would learn from a course book but they can sometimes be less structured, which makes it extremely important to focus on finding an excellent course to take on, rather than simply start with the first one that turns up in your search engine for the phrase “free online language course”. If possible, find an online language course that offers both written lessons and spoken ones (through E-media). They are extremely useful in correlating spelling with pronunciation and generally getting you used to the language you are about to learn (not to mention that stimulating two senses, hearing and seeing, doubles the effect of the learning process).

Travel based language learning methods on the other hand are definitely more expensive and they might disrupt your daily routine. They are usually taken in vacation periods, but if you work online for example, you might even set up a small “office” in the country you’re aiming to learn the language of. This way you can keep to your daily duties and start learning at the same time.

The advantage of a travel based language is obvious. By getting plunged straight into an oasis of foreign words, your brain will focus on adapting and understanding the new language a lot better. Correlations between images and words are made a lot easier in this case and even a short trip to the supermarket for example, will get you to learn a few words and get you used with the new language. In a couple of weeks, you will already be able to say some of the basic words and some phrases and if the travel period is longer you have every chance of being able to conduct a short conversation with basic words successfully.

To conclude, it must be said that neither of these methods can guarantee you will be a fluent speaker of the new language after they are “complete”. Their purpose is solely to create a basic foundation for the new language, a foundation that will be useful later on if you want to further focus on the language and actually learn it in detail. Each method has some strong points (grammar and spelling for home-based, pronunciation for travel-based) and some weak points (pronunciation for home-based and spelling for travel-based for example), which may lead to the idea that a combination of the two is the best way to go, since they complement each other quite well.