5 Tips for successful group work
- How do I keep my group members motivated?
- How do I keep the course interesting?
- Ensuring skills are applied at work
How do I keep my group members motivated?
Group members need to stay motivated to achieve their goals. When a course runs over a long period of time, it is easy to lose motivation. Here are some ways to keep members motivated.
- Get group members to keep a learning journal. In their journal they can briefly record what they have learned and, more importantly, how they have applied their new knowledge and skills in the workplace. They can share these experiences with the group at the beginning or end of each session. Hearing how other people have grown is very motivational, as is seeing your own progress.
- Record (in your facilitator’s file) the group members’ post-quiz scores on the multiple-choice quizzes. You can have a ‘top achiever’ of the week. Name the top achiever and let the group congratulate him or her. If you have the time and resources, you could make a certificate that you give to him or her.
- You could do the same for the most improved participant each week.
- Remind the group of the goals you set together at the beginning of the process. As a group, talk about how far you are in meeting those goals, and if any of those goals have changed.
A learning journal, goals and small rewards help participants stay motivated throughout the course.
How do I keep the course interesting?
Participants stay motivated when what they are learning is presented in an interesting way and when they feel they are part of the process.
Here are some more ideas to keep participants interested:
- Create slideshows of the key points in the chapter. Include photos, images, graphs, video clips, sound bites, newspaper clippings, etc. Youtube is a great resource for educational videos.
- Show and tell: If you can, bring examples of items discussed in the chapter, such as empty medicine containers, equipment, X-rays, etc.
- Bring in help: You can arrange for experienced medical or nursing colleagues to visit your group and do demonstrations or ten-minute lessons covering a section. Group members can then ask questions and gain clarity on difficult topics.
- Case studies: Ask one group member each week to prepare a case study from one of their actual patients for everyone else in the group to learn from.
- Role-playing: You can ask group members to play out nurse–patient scenarios described in the book, and then get feedback from the rest of the group members on what was done correctly, and what could have been done better.
- If you have access to the Internet and a projector, you can use the Learning Station - bettercare.co.za/learn - to display the section of the book, figure or photo that you are discussing for everyone to see. There are also videos at the end of some of the chapters which you could show to the group.
Using other resources like videos keeps the course interesting.
Remember to include all group members in presenting information to the group. For example, the participants can:
- Take turns to present case studies from their own experience.
- Help with session preparation by bringing the necessary equipment for demonstrations.
- Identify and invite resource people to present to the group.
Including each group member in presenting information to the group and in giving examples from their work will help all participants to feel involved and interested in the course.
Each member of the group contributes to the success of the group as a whole. At the same time, they are all responsible for their own learning.
Ensuring skills are applied at work
The idea behind learning new skills and knowledge is that it can then be applied in your work. Here are some ways to make sure new knowledge and skills are carried over into ‘real life’:
- The members of the group can share at the beginning or end of each session what they have started doing differently since gaining knowledge in a specific areas.
- Ask a superior or co-workers if they have noticed a change in the group members’ professional behaviour and attitudes. Emphasise that you are not ‘checking up on them’. You are gathering information to find out if the learning process is successful.
- If the material in the course is different to your organisation’s policies, discuss this in the group. Try to reach a compromise after reviewing both points of view.