Does Explaining Study Groups as Good for You Vs. Good for Classmates Alter Student Engagement and Study Group Benefits?

Grant programExploring Well-being in Learning Environments: An Integrated Seminar Series and Grants Program

Grant recipientLara Aknin, Department of Psychology

Project team: TBD

Timeframe: September 2020 to July 2021

Funding: $4,110

Course addressed: PSYC 260 – Introduction to Social Psychology

Description: For this project, I hope to help foster social connection in my classroom through the use of study groups to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation among PSYC 260 students. I will encourage students to meet as study groups to create an informal network for discussing content, exchanging notes, and sharing experiences. I want to examine whether telling students that joining the study group stands to benefit them (vs. their groupmates) influences the degree to which students engage with their group, experience a sense of social connection from it, and improve their well-being? More broadly, I hope that this contact group provides students with a “student safety net” – a support system throughout the semester – to speak with regarding course content, the university experience, and life more broadly. Ideally, these relationships will grow into meaningful friendships that extend long after my course ends.

Questions addressed:

  • Does study group framing impact how many times the group members meet?
  • Does study group framing impact student well-being?
  • Does study group framing impact students’ sense of social connection or friendship in the classroom?
  • Does study group framing impact students’ feeling of belonging in the classroom?
  • Does study group framing impact students’ feeling of loneliness in the classroom?
  • Does study group framing impact students’ sense of intrinsic motivation for the course?
  • Does student well-being predict course achievement?

Knowledge sharing: I intend to disseminate these data to my local colleagues through word of mouth, and presentation at a department seminar and/or local teaching conference. I’d also be happy to share the findings at ISTLD events or in the newsletter.

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