Child pages
  • 3. Collective learning
Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Here you can find tips for methods that can be used in study groups. Select the most suitable options or come up with your own ideas of information sharing and processing. If you wish you can tape the discussions or presentations. A good card to start with is “Information sharing”; those who have read the same material first share their thoughts on the topic.

Sharing knowledge

Get oriented to the themes so that those who have read the same material discuss their topic briefly.

Policy options:

  • Discuss your theme pondering the common questions agreed in the beginning of the study group work.
  • Present your notes briefly and together find answers to open or unclear questions.

Discussion: 15-30 minutes

Small group discussion

Divide the participants to pairs or small groups so that everyone will share their subject with a person who is unfamiliar with the topic.

Policy options:

  • First ask your pair or group what they know about the subject. After this present each other the main themes of your own topic.

Share the main themes of your material to one person who will then explain in his/hers own words what he/she learned from a third party.


Discussion in pairs: 15-30 minutes

Discussion in small groups: 30-60 minutes

Mind map

Prepare concept maps of your study material. Present your map to other group members and explain how and why you came up with the ideas on the map.

Policy options

  • Make your maps with markers or on blackboard. If possible take a photo to be given to all afterwards.
  • Take advantage of the free mind map applications on the net:
  • BUBBL.US brainstorming tool


Preparation: 30-45 minutes

Presentation / data-entry: 10-15 minutes


Prepare small speeches on your subject. Write keywords of your presentation on board or use PowerPoint slides. Part of the study group can form an audience.

Policy options:

  • Prepare an address which summarizes the topic.
  • Explore the theme from a real-life perspective. It helps to give substance to the subject.
  • Visualize the topics with images and clippings of articles

Preparation: 30-45 minutes

Presentation: 10-15 minutes


Are there obvious contradictions in your material?

Do the works you have read on the subject represent different schools of thought?

Have a debate! In real life the debaters don’t have to represent opposing views.

  • Decide on a theme for your debate and divide the participants to groups with opposing views.
  • Part of the group can act as an audience.
  • After the debate break down the discussion together.

Debate and end discussion: 45-60 minutes


Expert interview

Invite a visitor who is an expert on the subject you are handling (researcher, teacher, professional, business world representative)


  1. Prepare questions for the expert of your subject field. You can for example tell the expert what you knew of the topic before the study circle and how your thinking has changed during the learning process.
  2. Interview the expert linking your questions with current themes. Make use of news, videos and paper clippings.


Cover your session’s main theme or parts of the data by using video material. Video could be a scene from a movie or news. You can find videos e.g. You Tube, TED or Vimeo.

Searching for videos: 15-60 minutes

Presentation / study material: 15-30 minutes


Before the study circle meeting write a blog of your part of the study material. You’ll find the Helsinki University Blog Service here:

During the writing process consider following:

  • How would you summarize your data?
  • What is an actual or important theme you’d like to link it with?

Discuss your writings at the meetings.


Blog writing: 30-60 minutes

Reading and discussion: 30-45 minutes


Could your reading help to solve real-life challenges? Imagine that you’ll get a challenge to solve as an external expert. The challenge could be found e.g. in the news.

Choose the roles in simulation: who has the challenge and who has the solution. Part of the group acts as an audience.

Play as it were real, how to solve the problem? Make use of the space and possible props.

After the simulation discuss how the study material helped to solve the problem.


Creating the challenge: 30 minutes

Simulation and aftermath: 30-60 minutes


Divide into pairs so that the pairs have read different part of the material. Prepare questions for each other in advance. Then interview each other, rest of the group acts as an audience.

After the interviews discuss about the common themes that were handled.


Preparing the questions: 30 minutes

Interview / material: 15 minutes

Discussion: 15-30 minutes



  • No labels