Why You Learn Faster with a Group

Couple dancing in a dance class

Group classes made all the difference for me, when it came to learning both copywriting and salsa dancing. They both have a structure and rhythm that I could see (somewhat) on my own, but it was when I learned as part of a group that I made the fastest progress.

Take salsa dancing.

I was in my 20’s, I loved the upbeat Cuban rhythms of the music and a friend invited me to a salsa club. The band played furiously on a cobbled together stage against a bay window while inside the dancers swirled and twisted to some invisible language. The women wore beautiful dresses and the men had dressed for the occasion too.

The scene was perfect. I could see there was a shared understanding of when to turn and how to raise the arms and when to add the dramatic flourishes.

I also knew none of it and when my friend said, “Just follow me,” I was not at all convinced but went along anyway. It was a short dance. I didn’t even know the most basic step so there could be no graceful understanding of that shared language.

Years later, I did learn though. I enrolled in salsa dance classes with a structured curriculum and while I was nervous for my first class, I stuck with it and now can dance salsa with any stranger. All because I learned the hidden structure of the dance.

It’s the same with writing. There’s a structure to writing an article, an email, a web page, a sales letter. And if you’ve never done it before, it can be frustrating to try and figure it out for yourself.

But with a class, you benefit from the structured learning environment. There are other people learning along with you. You can have feedback, so you know what to improve. You make progress faster because of the guidance of people who know more than you do.

The structure helps you stay focused. Instead of going down rabbit holes, you know exactly what to focus on. There’s an activity which helps you learn. And there’s feedback which shows you what you’re doing well and where you can improve.

Frankly, it’s uncomfortable learning something new. You’re not sure where to start and you’re not sure if you’re making progress. When you’re in a structured program, then there’s a curriculum designed to help you learn certain principles and you have a feeling of completion when done.

Plus, there’s the added advantage of having other people learning along with you because you can ask questions and learn from one another.

There’s another thing that happens when you learn with others. You grow your confidence and get to the earning part quicker. Here’s why.

4 Ways Learning as a Group is Beneficial (and Helps You Earn Quicker)

  1. Structure — Whether you go to a physical class or participate in a webinar, an expert on the topic has created a plan to help you learn something with supporting materials like practice activities. They’ve thought it through in a linear fashion and each piece builds on the next.
  2. Motivation — As social creatures, humans tend to gravitate toward doing things with others. Communities give us a sense of belonging and every one of us is a member of multiple communities. Participating in a group learning environment adds another community.
  3. Feedback — Participating in a structured learning event provides feedback. That feedback may be showing you how little you know, like when I went to my first salsa class. Or, it may show you that you have a better grasp of the concepts than you realized. Creating a feedback loop gives you the chance to assess your learning and see where you need to improve. This builds confidence and gets you earning sooner.
  4. Meeting Others — Trying to learn something by yourself is lonely. When you join a group, you can get to talk with others and gain different perspectives which can shift your thinking and help you draw a new connection. My AWAI community helped me get my freelance writing business off the ground because there was a shared sense of lifting one another up.

Learning new skills is fun. It can also be challenging. True learning changes your brain chemistry because it involves making connections between things you already know and the new information you’re learning.

What Kind of Learner Are You?

If you’re anything like me, you need to write down everything and see it written for it to “stick.” That means, I learn best with written material supplemented by doing.

My significant other is a video watcher. Whatever your learning style, when you follow yours, you’ll learn faster.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your Learning Style

  1. Do you normally gravitate toward reading or do you prefer to watch videos?
  2. Do you typically write things down to remember them?
  3. Do you like to draw?
  4. Do you prefer lots of pictures over words?
  5. Do you write down a word to make sure it’s spelled correctly? Or do you say it out loud?

Each of these are clues about the way you learn and none of them are right or wrong. If you can, tune into your habits. If you can listen to a phone number and then recite it back, you’re likely a strong audio learner.

A group environment enhances your primary learning style by offering motivation and feedback. It also reinforces other secondary styles. Chances are good that you may have one primary style — reading, for example — with a strong visual component. Different formats reinforce the others.

Without a guide, it’s like having multiple unrelated tabs open on your computer; you don’t know what to do with all this interesting information. But when you have help, you’re focused on the key resources you need to move forward.

When I’m learning with others, that’s when I have “a-ha” moments that give me new perspectives and ideas. It also helps me stay on track and give me a level of accountability that I find useful. That way, I can get to my goal faster which is earning a living.

What about you? What’s your learning style?

If you’re looking for instructor-led training classes, and ongoing help — such as personal mentoring, customized career planning, writing feedback — you should check out AWAI’s Circle of Success.

You get the highest level of personal support to reach your writing career goals, plus access to AWAI’s complete library of training programs. I joined COS more than a decade ago, and the supportive, focused learning environment and commitment to my career made a world of difference.

Do you have any questions about how to move forward as a copywriter? Please share in the comments so we can point you in the right direction.

The AWAI Method™

The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter

The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »

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Published: June 22, 2021

1 Response to “Why You Learn Faster with a Group”

  1. I am an older adult that wants to write to supplement my income when I retire.

    Are there other older people in this program that I mgiht learn from too?

    Guest (Col)

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