Get more out of Elements of AI with a Study Buddy

02.11.2022

Thinking of taking Elements of AI to learn the basics of artificial intelligence? Before you start, consider joining forces with someone. This way, you have better chances of completing the course, have much more fun doing it, and get far more out of the whole experience.

We know studying alone is difficult. You probably have a job or other studies taking the bulk of your day and a couple of things fighting for your free time. If you start a course and things get in between, a long break might make you feel guilty (this is what we call the wall of guilt).

This happens to all of us. Not finishing something doesn’t make you a bad person!

Studying alone is also, well, lonely. It’s hard to keep on track and reflect on your thoughts. How do you know you really learned what you read if there’s no one to share the learnings or discuss your conclusions with? 

Sharing the learning journey with someone increases your chances of succeeding in the course. Not only because you have someone to spar the contents with, but you also get someone to keep you accountable for keeping pace. 

The benefits of social learning are proven also in studies. Studying together helps you find new perspectives and expand your understanding of the topic at hand. According to a study by psychology professor R. Keith Sawyer, Ph.D., from Washington University learning is more effective when a student a) needs to explain in their own words what they studied and b) listens to other perspectives. 

We know this from our own experience, too. Here’s what one of the students in our learning group had to say:

“Group work was a really practical and insightful way for me to complete the agile challenge [a learning group around our other course, The Essence of Agile]”

When asked about the usefulness of studying in a group, it was rated 4.6/5

Having someone to study with is still not a guarantee of completion. It’s usually good to have some kind of timeline with set deadlines to keep up the pace and remember the contents from the previous chapters.

What is a Study Buddy challenge?

The Study Buddy challenge helps you complete the course and have more fun while doing it. In this 3-week intensive study program, you go through the course with a Study Buddy — be it a friend, a colleague, a classmate, your mom or dad, sibling, grandma, partner… whoever you think would benefit from and enjoy studying the basics of AI together with you. All you need to do is to reach out and instruct them to sign up at elementsofai.com.

By doing that, you’re not only supporting your and your buddy’s life-long learning, but you are taking part in shaping the bigger picture: democratizing AI and bringing a better understanding of it to more people.

Get the most out of studying together

So how would this studying together work then? There are two options (that can also be mixed):

  • Go through the chapters together in three reading sessions. Meet up at a café, library, at home, or online and devote 1–2 hours just to go through the chapters and do the exercises simultaneously.
  • Reflect on your learnings in three discussion sessions. Go through two chapters independently and at the end of the week meet up to discuss the key takeaways and your answers to exercises.

In practice, the timeline for Introduction to AI could look like this:

Three weeks of the study buddy journey with a weekly discussion session

Three weeks of the study buddy journey with a weekly discussion session

The same format can be applied to the course Building AI, too. If you choose to have a discussion session in between independent studying, here’s our suggestion for a possible structure:

  1. Set a goal.
    Be it to complete essay answers based on new insights, to finalize a whole chapter, or to get support for exercise questions you’re unsure of, it’s usually a good idea to form some expected outcome from your chat.
  2. Gather thoughts on paper.
    Take about 5 minutes to independently gather thoughts, learnings, and open questions on paper or post-its. These should derive from the two chapters that you studied during the week.
  3. Share your thoughts.
    Maybe what was clear to you made little sense to your buddy, or you end up talking about a question you didn’t even come to think about!
  4. Go through exercises together.
    If you’ve chosen to only go through the materials but not submit your exercise or essay answers yet, compare your answers to the exercises and discuss them. If you have submitted the answers already before the meeting, go back to them and discuss how they went and why some of them went wrong or felt hard to answer.
  5. Write down and share your key takeaways.
    Go back to your paper or post-its and write down the most valuable takeaways from this session. Share them with your buddy and close the session. Write the takeaways also in the Elements of AI community (which we read daily) to help more learners benefit from your insights. If you came up with any tips or tricks to get even more out of the course or the reflection sessions, share especially those!

So, let’s get going!

Click here to open up a ready-made email template and invite your buddy on this learning journey and start the course!

Would you like people at your organization to do Elements of AI in facilitated learning groups? Read more about our full-service learning groups or contact Ossi! You can also send us a message at hello@minnalearn.com.

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