Setting up small learning groups
Research points to 6-8 as a guide, (1) but there is no magic number. Remember not everyone will make every session. Perhaps more important than size, is motivation. If everyone is determined to make the group work, it will!
Monthly, every two months, etc? Diaries out at the end of every meeting, or dates blocked out in advance?
Your choice, but a typical breakdown might be 20 minutes of social catching up, 60-90 minutes of the main discussion and 20 minutes of evaluating and planning. (1)
The principles of adult learning support establishing some simple ground rules to help create a ‘safe’ environment for learning. (2) For example, no question is too silly. Depending on how familiar you are as a group, you may feel no need for this. But if you do decide to set some ground rules, they should be formed and owned by the group. Here’s an example of a learning group’s ground rules:
- Do any work you promised to do
- Respect each other
- Keep the focus central (not too many neighbour-chats)
- Hear each other out, don’t talk over
- It should be enjoyable
You may decide to rotate organisational roles or one person may take the lead. Either way, it is best to explicitly agree this.
You can find our own Learning Group document templates and other useful documents here >
- Wright, P (2013) Self directed learning groups for GPs: a support framework for revalidation. British Medical Journal. 346: Careers GP4-5 http://careers.bmj.com/careers/advice/view-article.html?id=20012222
- Knowles MS, Holton III EF, Swanson RA (2005) The Adult Learner, 6th Edition, Elsevier, Burlington, USA.