This is a real story that happened to me recently. I’m sharing it with you so that you won’t repeat your mistakes and your study group won’t fail.
When I was just starting an Anthill Academy I was looking for a group of people to study English together. I wanted to pass a TOEFL examination. I’ve chosen the “Official Guide to the TOEFL Test” book as a study resource, found 4 other guys who also wanted to study English and created my first study group called “Ants are moving to the US”.
We had everything — motivation, free time, learning resources, great team and mind-blowing group name.
We had 2 guys from India, 2 from Russia and me, from Ukraine. Timezones were pretty close so no one of us was forced to study at night. We created a server in Discord and started actively discussing our plans. We decided that the next week we have to finish the first 2 chapters of the book that is only… so, 112 pages.
We get together in chat and discussed how many pages we have done. I was crazy motivated and on the first day, I’ve finished 50 pages, the same was with 2 other guys.
2 of the guys haven’t appeared in the chat. They were overwhelmed with work and weren’t able to complete pages.
No single person in chat….
After one week I replied and asked if someone is still active. But all guys got busy and had no activity.
I’ve done a retrospective of what happened and found mistakes that we made:
- Too much done on the first day
- No scheduled meeting
- No long term goals
- No knowledge sharing
- No strict rules everyone should follow
I’ve made a deep dive into the topic of studying together online and collected a top 7 tips that I’ve found the most useful and practical.
Create learning routine
No motivating — bad, much motivation — also bad.
When you start learning something you probably is very motivated to do it. But if you do too much, you got burnout and lose all motivation. Instead of trying to finish a book in 1 week, divide work into small chunks and read each day a small piece. Reserve a slot in your calendar and read consistently at the same time of day. It will help you not to lose motivation and keep progressing step by step.
I’ve borrowed this technique from the Scrum framework that is applied in all software engineering teams. It’s 15 minutes meeting where the team has to discuss:
1. What was done yesterday
2. What I’m going to do today
3. What obstacles do I have
It helps to make progress clear for everyone and keep the team accountable.
Another one is Scrum practice that helps teams to become better each week and resolve conflicts. You and your team meet at the end of each week and discuss:
1. What was good?
2. What what bad?
3. How we can improve next week?
I have a detailed article on this:
Before studying something you have to answer a question: Why am I studying this?
After that, you have to set goals for the next month, next week, and the next day. Share those goals with your group and they will help you to achieve it.
The Pomodoro Technique
The secret to effective time management is…thinking in tomatoes rather than hours? It may seem silly at first, but millions of people swear by the life-changing power of the Pomodoro Technique. (Pomodoro is Italian for tomato. 🍅)
This popular time management method asks you to alternate pomodoros — focused work sessions — with frequent short breaks to promote sustained concentration and stave off mental fatigue.
Here is a detailed guide on how to implement this technique — https://todoist.com/productivity-methods/pomodoro-technique
Nothing can motivate better than a good group tutor. Imho this is the most powerful technique to make a long term study group. Just hire a tutor for once a week group session where you together discuss what you have learned and the tutor answer questions.
Working out loud
Working out load it’s a whole life methodology that can increase your learning productivity and circle of friends. The main rule — post everything you have learned. Take noted and share it with your group or on social media. When you have finished a book — write a review and also post it. It will help you to better remember information and find like-minded people.
If you are looking for a study group visit an Anthill Academy.