We recently surveyed thousands of college students to learn more about their experiences in note sharing in their classes.

We asked our community of college students: “How often do you share notes with classmates?”

Seventeen percent told us they share notes frequently, 58% share notes occasionally, and 25% never share or exchange notes.

Student note sharing

Seventy-five percent of college students share notes with their classmates.

The question then becomes — how do you shape the exchanges they will share into something that is both productive and educational?

Intro to note sharing

In his text, The Essential Guide to Becoming a Master Student, 4th Edition, author Dave Ellis explains how students can collaborate productively:

“Contact other students. Make personal contact with at least one other student in each of your classes—especially classes that involve lots of online course work. Create study groups to share notes, quiz each other, and critique papers.” (74)

Encouraging students to do this early on may help their note sharing to be a more dynamic experience. Rather than simply forwarding their notes, making more personal contact may result in them having conversations around the material they’re sharing.

Tips to share with your students

Ellis goes on to explain the study habits that students can utilize in order to get more out of sharing notes with their classmates:

Compare notes. Make sure you all heard the same thing in class and that you all recorded the important information. 

Take a mock test and share results. Ask each group member to bring four or five sample test questions to a meeting. Create a mock test from these questions, take the test under timed conditions, and share answers.

Practice teaching each other. Teaching is a great way to learn something. Turn the material you’re studying into a list of topics. Then assign specific topics for each person to teach the group. (76)

Following these strategies will not only allow students to learn from their classmates in areas they missed, it will also help them to master more content by teaching it to their peers.

Reference: Ellis, Dave. The Essential Guide to Becoming a Master Student, 4th Edition. 2016. Boston: Cengage Learning.

What other tips do you have for motivating students to learn from each other? Share your thoughts below.