I got the idea from a book club that meets in our neighbourhood.
A group of avid book readers select a book they want to read. They each buy a copy of the book, and start reading at the same time. They meet periodically, over a bottle of wine, and a curry, for an evening of discussion about their views + experience of the book. It's a lot of fun.
A StudyGroup is a study technique occasionally depicted in films about USA college students. If you want to cover ground fast, pool your resources. I thought, why not do the same thing with an exploration of new software projects? Rather than slog away on your own, why not pool resources with other like minded folk to gain familiarity and learn some new tricks.
We all have too many things to investigate and not enough time, so why not pool resources, and share the work? It's sociable too!!
What's that slogan? Work smarter, not harder.
It could also be the first step towards a collaborative work thing. Fostering teams of people to work collectively towards some goal.
How it works
A small group agree that before the next meeting (BAB or pub) they will research (read up, Google, try out at home etc.) the chosen topic. At the meeting they talk it over or try it out. The chances are that they can fill in the gaps in each other's knowledge, both of the topic itself and of the best resources for it, and identify a majority view where conflicting information has been found.
If the topic needs a separate meeting (e.g. for a lengthy trial) or you want to attract more participants, list the topic on the Workshops page and mailing list.