Five Ways To Make An Effective Online Study Group

No matter where you are in the world, if you’re a student, we’re sure you’re experiencing a period of immense uncertainty right now.

Students globally find themselves barred from entering their campuses as the pandemic rages on. While many schools have resorted to online classes, it cannot compare to the real deal. Furthermore, students can find online courses pretty isolating, without their friends’ constant company to motivate them. 

However, the entire world is attempting to cope with the current situation, and the best course of action is to adapt to things as they are. While returning to school may not be an option for the foreseeable future, we can think of ways to help facilitate learning in the meanwhile.

One of the most popular techniques employed by students to help them retain course material is creating study groups. While we can’t meet in person, online study groups are a viable alternative that can bring excellent results. Here are some tips to follow to ensure that you get the most from your online study group.

Pick a moderator 

Picking moderators is the first step to ensuring your study group’s success. Moderators act as group leaders and help the group stay focused on their schedule. They also help ensure that everyone has their voice heard and that sessions remain organized and productive. With this in mind, it’s apparent that moderators need to have excellent communication skills. 

A moderator with good communication skills will ensure that everyone in the group study activity understands things properly. This includes speaking clearly or using effective visual aids in the form of slides if needed.  Ironically if you’re studying for a communications degree online, you can become the moderator yourself and use this as an opportunity to polish your existing skills.

Create a plan 

After picking a moderator, the second most crucial step is to create a plan. The plan needs to cover the purpose of the group and the individual issues that members may have. The plan must highlight the areas of study you aim to cover. You can enlist reading material beforehand and address specific problems during the group study activity. The plan needs to be a collaborative project and needs to be put together by someone who can communicate effectively with all members. 

Apart from a more holistic plan, each session needs to have its mini-plan to ensure maximum productivity. These can also cover points of disagreement or confusion to discuss. These points can guide group members to come together and address these concerns. Therefore, conflict resolution is an essential part of any plan and can help facilitate better learning for all members. 

Keep it short 

Students often feel that the best way to study is through all-nighters and cramming sessions. However, research shows that these methods don’t do anything other than leaving you sleep-deprived and stressed. There’s only so much that our brains can handle after an extended time, and without breaks, you can end up with zero retention power. 

Regular study sessions that are not more than an hour-long can help you learn more effectively and retain information better. The spacing effect is the most effective way to learn and help you recall information and form meaningful connections. It’s also helpful to rework course material in a meaningful way to each member for deeper understanding.

Shorter sessions can also keep members engaged throughout the study activity. With everyone focusing entirely on each session, you will likely have lower dropouts or latecomers and instead can achieve greater productivity. 

Work upon group member strengths 

Each member in the study group will have their specific strengths. Some are good at note-taking, while others may excel at organization, time management, or moderating. Allowing everyone to work according to their strengths will help the study group be more effective. In doing so, you can allow each member to contribute to the fullest and make the experience more enriching for everyone. 

Furthermore, when everyone focuses on their strengths, they also can work upon their weaknesses. You can, therefore, create a symbiotic environment where each member can contribute something of value. 

Stay positive 

When creating an online study group, it’s imperative to understand that this might be someone’s first time dealing with this novel situation. Everyone has different ways of learning, and there may be some members who struggle to retain information. It’s important to stay positive and motivate all group members to perform their best without stressing out.

Furthermore, some sessions might not be as productive as others, and it can be easy to get frustrated. However, remember to stay focused. Being stressed can impair your learning abilities even further, so it’s essential to stay positive and motivated. Having a group leader or moderator is crucial in steering other members away from losing hope. 


Incorporating these tips will help you make practical study sessions that can boost your morale and your grades. Online study groups can help you connect with your peers, learn better, and bring some semblance of normalcy. Furthermore, these study groups are instrumental for students from remote locations or cannot attend on-campus classes. They can help each of us do our part in making education more accessible for everyone. On a final note, ensure everyone has a stable internet connection!

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