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Students in a group study

Making a Case For Study Groups – Establish Safety and Value

In the last installment of this series, we addressed 3 of the most common challenges that study groups face:

  • study groups turning into study group socials
  • uneven distribution of work
  • unclear expectations

In this post, we will address these challenges from an asset-based perspective and through this question: what factors contribute to the success of effective study groups?

Interestingly enough, Google was also interested in this question. Already convinced that team effort yields the most productivity, the tech company conducted a large and extensive study to discover what characteristics every successful team had. Find out what Google learned by watching the video below:

Psychological safety. Every successful team figured out how to establish a sense of psychological safety for every member. Google broke this characteristic down into two other components: balance of speaking and social sensitivity. Considering these two components when we think back to the common challenges of study groups, everything starts to make more sense! When everyone does not feel like their contributions are or will be valued, study groups are not as productive. If the team does not practice social sensitivity, does not establish a culture of care, it is unlikely that team members will feel comfortable with making mistakes and troubleshooting challenges.

As we move forward from the social-psychological characteristics of successful study groups, we encourage you to use the Group Contract in your first study group session in order to set clear expectations and maintain a culture of care. Next time, we break into the cognitive ideas of growth mindset and metacognition to help facilitate meaningful interactions between group members and course content.

By Staff Writer: Gabriel Angrand, STEM Learning Specialist

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