3 Ways to Promote Active Learning in Your Study Group
Written by Abbie Rohr
Throughout your undergrad years you’ve probably relied on other students for study support. You’ve learned how studying with other people can motivate you and keep your review on track.
We saw that many people struggled to keep their motivation to study during the pandemic because they weren't able to get out and study together. Many turned to Zoom study groups, but others really missed the in-person study environment. If you were one of those, it's time to get a study group together!
Did you know that study groups are uniquely equipped to promote active learning? So, it's not just a great excuse to see other people in real life.
What Is Active Learning?
With active learning, you are really engaged in the content and learning process. You're constantly thinking about what you are doing and are directing all your efforts into it. Active learning helps you maintain focus and deepens your understanding by forcing you to retrieve information from memory.
An example of active learning is drawing a concept map instead of just highlighting portions of a textbook.
What Are Active Learning Methods?
Take advantage of these three active learning methods to make your next study group session more effective.
Take Turns Explaining Concepts to Each Other
Students explaining concepts to each other
Explaining something in your own words is an effortful activity (a deep learning practice) that helps you more fully comprehend the information and embed it into your long-term memory. Plus, explaining it out loud can help you to identify where you get stumped, or where your knowledge gaps lie.
When someone else in your study group is explaining a concept, really pay attention to how they're describing it! Hearing another perspective adds retrieval cues to the material, which aids in your retention of the information.
Work Through Q&As Together
In case you haven't heard the rage about Q&As, they're pretty much the perfect study strategy for building confidence in your medical knowledge (that means acing exams!).
Pull up your MedStudy Qbank and answer questions together! Or, you can ask questions out loud and take turns answering.
Creating your own questions is another effortful activity that helps embed knowledge before you’ve even begun quizzing one another.
Compare Answers and Discuss Them
Do you have a different answer than someone else in the group? Explain why you think a different answer option is correct. Make sure that as you're going through the questions you're comparing answers and sharing your strategies for responding to them.
For example, how do you look for distractors in the answer options? Do you have a special mnemonic to remember something pertaining to a question? Bounce answers off of each other, and learn from each other's answering strategies!
Plus, this allows you time to formulate an answer independently, then self-assess with the input of others. You have an opportunity to immediately self-correct when you answer incorrectly and discuss your reasoning when you answer correctly. Both of these activities strengthen your long-term access to the information.
Discussion allows you to revisit concepts you feel confident about from a different perspective. You may also discover a new way of approaching a question.
Having trouble finding or forming a study group? Attend an online course, and make a point to join others in our chat feature to discuss the material. Find ways to be active and share your learning with others—you will remember more!
Study with a group to promote these active learning methods
Want to learn more about active learning and how to incorporate it in your board prep plan? Download our free StudyWise guide now!