1 Introduction to studying in groups
- What is group learning?
- Why is it good to learn in a group?
- What does the group facilitator do?
- What makes a group successful?
What is group learning?
Small group learning is an ideal way for people to:
- learn from each other
- test new knowledge and clinical skills
- practise teamwork and improve their people skills.
Learning in a group is about teamwork. It is about moving forward towards a common goal. In a Bettercare study group, a common goal is to complete the Bettercare course you have all chosen to do and to learn more about that area of healthcare.
Everyone has worked in a group before:
- At home, you work as a group to keep the house clean and to prepare meals.
- At school, you worked in groups to complete projects or prepare for exams.
Every member of the group is important, but someone needs to lead the others and make it easier for the group to keep on track. This is your role as the facilitator.
Group work is about team work and moving towards a common goal.
Why is it good to learn in a group?
Group learning helps people develop:
- people skills
- problem-solving skills
- presentation skills
- communication skills
- listening skills
- an appreciation for other people’s views.
These skills are difficult to learn on your own. They are also very important skills to have if you have a job in healthcare.
What does the group facilitator do?
The facilitator is not a tutor. You will not be teaching the group members. Every member should take responsibility for their own learning and should work through the chapters of the book on their own.
Your role is:
- To make it easier for group members to talk about and understand concepts they struggle with.
- To make it easier for group members to share their knowledge and experience.
- To make sure all the practical arrangements for the course are taken care of.
The facilitator is not a tutor or a teacher. Every participant takes responsibility for their own learning.
Ideally, managing and facilitating a Bettercare course should be part of your routine duties in your environment. For this, you will need to get the permission of the authorities at your clinic or hospital.
What makes a group successful?
There are four important elements for successful group learning:
- Trust – members must feel safe in the group.
- Sharing – members must feel able to share their knowledge, skills and experience with the rest of the group.
- Interdependence – members must work together to achieve the goals of the group.
- Accountability – each member of the group must contribute to the process.
Trust, sharing, interdependence and accountability make group work successful.