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Questionnaire for creating study groups 

Brief description 

In their first semester, students do most of their class preparation as part of study groups, which makes study group collaboration an essential part of teaching. Because of this, it is important to create groups that work well for both the students and the teachers.  

Study groups are created for all courses in the first semester based on an online questionnaire, and it is the teaching team that decides the criteria from which the study groups are created.  

The teacher’s motivation 

Starting a degree programme can be both socially and academically challenging for many students, so the purpose of creating study groups is to:   

  • improve the learning and collaboration culture in the class in order to make the transition to university easier for students, which should also help reduce dropout rates.  

  • divide the students according to their specific academic needs, since study groups are partly formed based on academic prerequisites.  

Description of the activity

Before the students start their first semester  

  1. One of the teachers contacts the private company UniHelper, who creates an online questionnaire for the students with questions about how they work best, their level of ambition and their personality type, etc.   

  2. The teaching team adds questions that specifically pertain to China studies and decides on the criteria for forming the study groups, including prior knowledge of Chinese, the distribution of elective students, gender, personality types and levels of ambition.  

First semester:  

  1. The students will be informed that their study groups will be created based on their answers to the questionnaire.   

  2. The students will be sent a link to the online questionnaire and will spend about 10-15 minutes of their preparation time completing the approx. 20 questions in the questionnaire.  

  3. The students will participate in a workshop in which they will, among other things, draw up a study group contract.  

  4. During the semester, much of the work between lessons will take place in study groups, and the work the students do in these groups will be incorporated into class teaching.   

Second semester:  

  • New study groups will be formed so that the students can get to know each other better and develop their professional collaborative skills.   

  • New criteria will be added to UniHelper's algorithm.

Third semester:  

  • Now the students are allowed to form groups themselves. The only requirement is that each student is a part of a group. If this doesn’t work, the teacher will be responsible for forming groups again.  

Resources for students: 

  • A study group contract 

Support for students 

  • Workshop facilitated by a student counsellor on collaboration in study groups and on conflict management. 

Applied technology 

  • Unihelper.dk: Online questionnaire for group formation   

Outcome of the activity 

  • Evaluations show that the students appreciate the learning culture that the study groups help to develop. A well-functioning study group culture continues for the rest of the Bachelor’s degree programme – also when the students are in charge of forming groups themselves.  

  • The dropout rate is lowered, but this might also be due to other factors.  

  • Working in study groups is taken more seriously by students because using a professionally developed tool to form the groups emphasises the importance of study groups.  

  • Encouraging study groups to complete several assignments on their own supports their collaboration and makes the students familiar with sharing and learning together.  


  • The teaching team must agree to prioritise group tasks, because, without well-defined tasks, the study groups fall apart easily.  

  • Many new students are somewhat sceptical of group work based on their experiences in upper-secondary school, so it is important to be explicit about its purpose and outcome.  

Worth considering 

  • Tell the students why you’re forming study groups and emphasise why working in study groups is so important.  

  • All teachers must commit to actively using study groups in their teaching.  

Basic information

  • Faculty: ARTS, School of Culture and Society (Department of Global Studies) 

  • Degree programme: China studies 

  • Course: Chinese beginner language  

  • Study level: BA 

  • Course size: 40 students 

  • Teaching method: - (Study groups) 

  • Extent: Course (longer teaching course) 

  • Primary type of activity: Collaboration 

  • Applied technology: Unihelper.dk 

Links and materials