Study With Me! The Value of Virtual Study Sessions

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We have recently observed a profusion of video content on YouTube depicting users in various acts of academic study. They might be typing on their computer near a window, reading coursework in a cafe, or even making flashcards. This “Study With Me” trend caught the attention of the Learning for Success Center at Purdue Global, and with Peer Tutor, Paige Phillips, taking the lead on the project, we have begun to develop our own “Study With Me” sessions.

This video trend first emerged in Korea with Gongbang [Koon-pang] videos, a portmanteau, or a word blending the sounds and meanings of two words, of the Korean term for a study broadcast, gongu bangsong [Kong-gu Pangson] (Guardian, 2021). As this trend rose in popularity, a global pandemic sent many students home to continue their studies in solitude, driving more demand for this kind of content. The videos helped to recreate the camaraderie and fellowship of studying with others and were salve for students’ isolation and loneliness (Ewe, 2021). During these live streams, participants were able to communicate with each other in real-time, sharing study tips, modeling academic activities, and giving others encouragement and inspiration to keep going.

But for students who continue to study remotely in online education programs, like those at Purdue Global, the need for social study opportunities like these persist well beyond any pandemic or emergency lockdown. For online students, “Study With Me” sessions can offer both social and academic benefits.

Albert Bandura’s (1986, 1997, 2001) studies on observational learning revealed that students could learn new actions by watching others perform them. Building on the idea at the foundation of social cognitive theory, that human learning occurs in a social environment, Bandura (1986, 1997, 2001) demonstrated that people gain knowledge, skills, and strategies by observing others. Rather than enactive learning, or learning by doing, students can learn vicariously by observing others (Schunk, 2012). For the Learning for Success Center, this means that we can help students acquire more effective study skills and learning strategies by modeling them through “Study With Me” live study sessions.

For example, in the first live study event hosted by Peer Tutors from the Learning for Success Center, we modeled the Pomodoro Technique during a 1-hour session. We completed a 25-minute focus session, took a 5-minute break, and returned for another 25-minute focus session. Before the study session began, we prompted students to choose a single task to focus on and encouraged them to share what they would be doing in the comments section. Both students and Peer Tutors shared their plans to study for a midterm, read course material, work on a quiz, or edit an assignment. In this way, Peer Tutors were able to model an effective study strategy while students could observe and imitate their model. This proved particularly valuable when Peer Tutor, Kathy Dust, shared her success after the first focus session that she had earned a 100% on her nutrition class quiz. According to Schunk (2012), “When people believe that modeled behaviors are useful, they attend carefully to models and mentally rehearse the behaviors” (p. 122). Our Peer Tutors have proven themselves to be successful online learners, and now these live study sessions allow them to share their strategies and skills with their peers in a way that further supports our students’ academic growth and learning success. In fact, Schunk (2012) finds that observing peer models raises self-efficacy and leads to positive results even more than observing teacher models!

Our Peer Tutors have a unique role in helping students succeed at Purdue Global, and our latest endeavor to provide students with live study sessions furthers our mission to empower students with the skills they need to be successful in their online learning. Check out the recording of our first live study session, and be sure to stay tuned as we continue to share our study strategies and promote effective study skills through live broadcasts. Come study with us!

Until next time, this is Dr. Linscott with another Learning for Success podcast. Happy learning!

Bandura, A. (1986). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Prentice Hall.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. Freeman.
Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1-26.
Ewe, K. (2021). People can’t seem to get enough of watching others read books and take down notes in real time. Vice.
Guardian. (2021). Gongbang videos: why the world has gone wild for 12-hour films of people studying.
Schunk, D. H. (2012). Learning theories: An educational perspective (6th ed.). Pearson.

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