Ten collaborative learning tips Establish group goals: Effective collaborative learning needs group goals, as well as individual accountability. This keeps the group on task and establishes a clear learning outcome. Keep groups mid-sized: Small groups of three or less lack enough diversity and may not allow divergent thinking to occur.
A moderate size group of four or five is ideal. Build trust and promote open communication: Successful interpersonal communication must exist in teams.
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Building trust is essential. Deal with emotional issues that arise immediately and any interpersonal problems before moving on. Open communication is key. For larger tasks, create group roles: The more challenging a task, the clearer individual roles, responsibilities and accountabilities need to be. Snowballing — start off like a think, pair, share activity but, after pairing move on to groups of four, eight and then 16 before opening up discussion to the whole class.
Elephant on the bus — a development of six thinking hats where learners are encouraged to think from a variety of creative perspectives to solve a problem and then share their ideas with the whole group. There are plenty of other strategies to be found online. Rather than spending a lot of time designing an artificial scenario, use inspiration from everyday problems. Real-world problems can be used to facilitate project-based learning and often have the right scope for collaborative learning.
Focus on enhancing problem-solving and critical thinking skills: Try to design assignments that allow room for varied interpretations. Different types of problems might focus on categorising, planning, taking multiple perspectives, or forming solutions. Think about the gender balance of your groups: Some research suggests that boys are more likely to receive and give elaborate explanations and their stances are more easily accepted by the group. In majority male groups girls are ignored. In majority girl groups, girls tend to direct questions to the boy who often ignores them.
Try to keep a gender balance in each group. Use scaffolding: Structure and scaffold group learning tasks at the beginning of a project. Teachers might serve as facilitator to groups needing more support, or provide a list of scaffolding questions. Technology makes collaborative learning easier: Collaboration can be very effective through digital platforms and social media. Improve communication in the classroom Use video resources that model conversation skills: Students can learn the foundational elements of conversation by watching videos of these interactions taking place.
The box below summarizes three individual studies examining the effects of cooperative learning groups. Articulate your goals for the group work, including both the academic objectives you want the students to achieve and the social skills you want them to develop. Choose an assessment method that will promote positive group interdependence as well as individual accountability. Explain how the task involves both positive interdependence and individual accountability, and how you will be assessing each.
Assign group roles or give groups prompts to help them articulate effective ways for interaction. The University of New South Wales provides a valuable set of tools to help groups establish good practices when first meeting. The site also provides some exercises for building group dynamics; these may be particularly valuable for groups that will be working on larger projects. Regularly observe group interactions and progress , either by circulating during group work, collecting in-process documents, or both.
When you observe problems, intervene to help students move forward on the task and work together effectively. The University of New South Wales provides handouts that instructors can use to promote effective group interactions, such as a handout to help students listen reflectively or give constructive feedback , or to help groups identify particular problems that they may be encountering. In addition to providing feedback on group and individual performance link to preparation section above , it is also useful to provide a structure for groups to reflect on what worked well in their group and what could be improved.
Graham Gibbs suggests using the checklists shown below.
Critical thinking and collaborative learning
The University of New South Wales provides other reflective activities that may help students identify effective group practices and avoid ineffective practices in future cooperative learning experiences. Bransford, J. How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, D. Bruffee, K. Collaborative learning: Higher education, interdependence, and the authority of knowledge.
Cabrera, A. Journal of College Student Development, 43 1 , Davidson, N. Boundary crossing: Cooperative learning, collaborative learning, and problem-based learning. Dees, R.
Why Use Cooperative Learning?
The role of cooperative leaning in increasing problem-solving ability in a college remedial course. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 22 5 , Gokhale, A. Collaborative Learning enhances critical thinking. Journal of Technology Education, 7 1. Heller, P.
Part 2: Designing problems and structuring groups. American Journal of Physics 60, Johnson, D. Active learning: Cooperation in the university classroom 3 rd edition. Edina, MN: Interaction.
Cooperation in the classroom 8 th edition. Cooperative learning: Improving university instruction by basing practice on validated theory. Journl on Excellence in College Teaching 25, Jones, D. Implementation of cooperative learning in a large-enrollment basic mechanics course. Kuh, G. Love, A. Integrating collaborative learning inside and outside the classroom.https://adclaseris.tk
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In school it's no different, where they look to their peers to collaborate and share ideas. And there's some great news about this—collaborative learning activities are not only more interesting for students, but may be more helpful in facilitating brain development than traditional teaching methods. The working world is being affected by new communication technology. One's ability to function in teams that are both real and virtual is important. Henry Ford said it best:.
Collaborative learning pushes children to express themselves to their peers and interact to acquire and make use of information to achieve a desired outcome.
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- What is Cooperative Learning?.
Teachers may need to help students new to the activity, providing scaffolding and model appropriate behavior for listening to and discussing different viewpoints. However, these efforts are worthwhile, as collaborative learning has been shown to have a remarkable impact on students and their development in a number of areas. Let's seek to understand more about the influence of collaborative learning activities on brain development, as well as the social and emotional advantages of the approach. It is through the talk that learning occurs.
Group work: Using cooperative learning groups effectively
In the classroom, collaborative learning activities involve students working together in groups to complete a project, problem-solve or create a product. This approach to learning requires students to:. Collaborative learning pushes students to actively engage with their peers, and articulate and question ideas as they move forward in finding a solution. One goal of this approach is to move learning toward a student-centered model of education.
The process involves soft skills that are important in the social-emotional development of a learner, such as problem-solving, managing emotions and the verbal exchange and discussion of ideas. Collaborative learning can also begin at a young age to engage learners and foster a student-centered learning environment.
The active engagement of this approach requires more from students than skill and drill. However, does collaborative learning serve as a workout for the brain? A developing child needs to execute their own acquisition of knowledge and manage their behavior. The executive functions of the brain generally do not fully mature until early adulthood. This means that parents and educators have a relatively large window in which to positively influence a child and their development.
The plasticity of the brain shows that executive functions will interconnect in a progressive manner when using knowledge domains for words, facts and images in a goal-directed purpose.