Study groups encourage participation in different ways, which may include general discussion of assigned readings, reports, debates, panels, slide presentations or small group discussions. The form of participation will vary.
Not every study group member feels comfortable in making presentations or leading discussions, but everyone can contribute to informed discussion by having completed the assigned readings for each session. A member's outside obligations may require an occasional delay in completing assignments, but this should happen only rarely. When most participants haven't done the preparation that each session requires, learning stalls, and the discussion falters or becomes based on preconceived opinions.
Advance preparation will provide each study group member with enough relevant information to join in discussion of the day's topic. The leader and others will value participants' thoughtful comments and will also welcome any questions they may have about the readings.
Most A.L.L. study group leaders devote many hours to gathering materials and preparing for their courses. They will encourage participants in their groups to pursue individual interests related to the main topic and to make brief presentations for the group. They will be able to suggest a number of such subtopics and will often provide some materials and guidance for the necessary research. Whenever possible, leaders encourage study group members to take on such extra assignments to enhance their own learning and to enrich the experience of the entire group.
Naturally, members are expected to attend each weekly session of their study group unless they have a valid reason for their absence.