4 Running a group


Establishing group rules

In your first meeting, you will need to establish some group rules. It’s best if the group members decide on the rules together. Ask the group members to give you some ideas of group rules. Discuss these and write them down. Some examples of rules could be:

Write the rules down on a large piece of paper and display them on the wall if possible (you can put the rules up at the beginning of the session and take them down at the end).

In your first meeting, all group members should establish group rules that everyone agrees with.

How Bettercare learning programmes work

In the first meeting, the group must read through the introduction carefully. Take time to discuss:

All group members should understand what group learning is before starting a Bettercare course.

As a group, it is also useful to discuss at the first meeting if you would all like to take the final exam or not, but this decision does not have to be final. You can change your mind later.

How the books work


These are listed at the beginning of each chapter. They highlight the most important lessons to be learned in the chapter.

Pre- and post-quizzes

There is a multiple-choice quiz of 20 questions for each chapter provided at the end of the book. Participants should:

You can do the quizzes on a computer or phone by going to bettercare.co.za and selecting the Learning Station.

When both quizzes have been completed, each participant can look up the correct answers and mark their own pre- and post quizzes. If any answers in the post quiz are wrong, participants should study those sections of the chapter again and repeat the quiz before moving on to the next chapter.

You should all discuss the difficult sections of that chapter in the group meeting each week. Each chapter needs to be studied and understood before moving on to the next chapter. Some chapters may require more than one meeting to make sure everyone fully understands. Some chapters are very short and you may be able to discuss two in one meeting.

Group members should keep track of their pre- and post-quiz results to track their learning. It is important that participants take responsibility for assessing their own progress through the book. You will find a template at the back of this guide that can be used for keeping track of pre- and post quiz scores.

Group members should keep track of their pre- and post-quiz results.


Notes, in smaller writing, give non-essential information. This is for the participants’ interest. These facts are not used in the case studies, multiple-choice quizzes or the exam.

Notes are shown like this.

Important lessons and key concepts

Important lessons are shown like this.

Case studies

Each chapter ends with a few case studies. These help participants to apply what they have learned in the chapter. The case studies give the participant the opportunity to see a problem as it usually presents itself in real life. You can go through these case studies and the answers to them in your group sessions. Group members can take turns in reading the case studies aloud and others can answer the questions.

Practical training

Skills chapters are very useful for a practical example of how the skills you learn in a Bettercare course are used. Skills chapters are not examined in the final exam, but you may want to arrange your own quizzes moderated by a senior medical or nursing colleague.

Final examination

When you and participants have finished the course, for a fee you can take a 75-question multiple-choice exam. If you pass you will receive a certificate of completion in the post. This certificate proves that you have completed the Bettercare course for which you studied. You can take the exam as many times as you like.

You can read more about the exam process in Chapter 6: Finishing a course.

Planning for group sessions

It’s helpful to have a predictable structure for each group session. You can do this by making a simple session plan. A session plan is a list of the steps you will follow in the session. The main parts of a session plan are:

Example session plan

Chapter title Newborn Care, Chapter 3: The routine care of normal infants
Date 14 March 2015
Introduction This session is important because: it is essential to be able to tell the difference between a normal newborn infant and an infant that needs more specialised care to prevent complications from happening.
Learning objectives By the end of the session, participants should be able to:
Manage a normal infant at delivery.
Assess a newborn infant after delivery.
Give routine care to a healthy infant.
Advise a mother about the care of a normal infant.
Appreciate the importance of the road-to-health booklet.
Resources Qualified doctor to present skills (only necessary for skills chapters)
Photos/videos of normal infants
Pens and paper
Advance preparation Invite doctor to present and demonstrate (only necessary for skills chapters)
Obtain infant model or get permission and consent for demonstration on an infant in the newborn nursery
Schedule (with times) 1. Discuss what has been studied before the session. (30 minutes)
2. Skills chapter. (20 minutes)
3. Post-quiz multiple-choice and mark pre- and post quizzes. (20 minutes)
4. Pre-quiz multiple-choice for next section. (10 minutes)
Total time 80 minutes

Keep your session plan short and simple. You can use the session plan template in Chapter 8 as a guide.

Inviting resource people

Occasionally you will need to invite a co-worker to give a demonstration or a talk to the group. Try to get to know the various health professionals who have expertise in the area of healthcare that you are studying. Ideally find people at your own facility or at nearby clinics and hospitals. You can ask co-workers to refer you to people who have helped them in the past or who are particularly knowledgeable. Make a note of these people and their contact details in your diary or facilitator’s file. You can use the template at the end of this guide to keep a record of contact details.

You can contact resource people via email, phone or in person. It is often easiest and quickest to speak to someone in person or on the phone, so you can answer any questions they might have immediately and give them a clear explanation of what you need them to do.

Contact someone in person or on the phone when inviting them to do a skills demonstration.

When you invite someone, you need to be clear about what they have to do. Give/send them a copy of the skills chapter they will be covering, and remember to give them clear information about the time and place of the meeting. Give the resource person a reminder phone call the day before.

If you like, you can give the demonstrator a small gift to show your appreciation. A card signed by the members of the group is meaningful and doesn’t cost a lot of money. This would need to be included in your initial training budget.

When you invite guest speakers, be very clear about what they have to do.

Preparing for group sessions

Each member of the group studies the material that is going to be covered before the session. As the facilitator, you must study the material too. The group members can make a list of questions they would like to discuss in the meeting and note any sections they found difficult.

As the facilitator, you must also study the chapter to be discussed in that session.

Make sure you have everything you will need in the session, for example, equipment you need for the demonstrations.

Using the multiple-choice quizzes

All participants, including the facilitator, do the pre-quiz at the end of the meeting before you study the next chapter. You then all do the post-quiz after you have discussed the chapter at the next meeting and learnt from one another. When both quizzes have been completed, each participant should look up the correct answers and mark their own pre- and post-quiz. If any answers are wrong in the post-quiz, participants should study those sections of the chapter again by themselves and repeat the quiz before moving on to the next chapter. A participant might ask for your help after a meeting if they find a chapter very difficult. If you have the time, set up an individual meeting with them to go through what they are struggling with. You could also refer them to a participant who did well in that particular chapter.

All participants, including the facilitator, do the pre-quiz at the end of the meeting before you study the next chapter.

Discuss the pre- and post-quiz results in the group. They will help you to identify which sections need more work. However, results are personal and if an individual does not want to share this information, they should not be forced to.

You then all do the post-quiz after you have discussed the chapter at the next meeting and learnt from one another.

You can photocopy the template multiple-choice quiz answer sheets at the end of this guide. Participants will need two answer sheets for each chapter (one for the pre-quiz and one for the post-quiz).

Participants also need to record their pre- and post-quiz scores to see if they are improving. A template scorecard can be found at the back of the book.

Figure 4-1: Using the multiple choice quizzes Figure 4-1: Using the multiple-choice quizzes

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