You already know the title of this post is true, because you’ve been on both sides of the study group divide. On one side is the novice shaman, the person who has completed the most study preparation before everyone gets together.
That person has finished most of the reading and teaches the rest of the tribe what she picked up, but teaches it in the kind of stumbling way that people do when they are trying to gather and organize a newfound understanding they’ve never had to verbalize previously.
That novice shaman earns a high yield from the process because, in explaining the material to the others, she’s made the content sticky for herself and is best-primed for long-term recall.
On the other side of the divide, the rest of the members of the study group, came in knowing little, and endured the disorganized and undirected ramblings of the novice shaman trying to organize her own thoughts.
For those of us who relish spending time with other people, study groups are more fun; but they only benefit the person who prepared the most beforehand.