Collaborative Learning with the Extramarks Education Blog

Posted by Anand on November 26th, 2019

Collaborative learning is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together. Unlike individual learning, people engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one another's resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another's ideas, monitoring one another's work, etc.). More specifically, collaborative learning is based on the model that knowledge can be created within a population where members actively interact by sharing experiences and take on asymmetric roles. Put differently, collaborative learning refers to methodologies and environments in which learners engage in a common task where each individual depends on and is accountable to each other. These include face-to-face conversations and computer discussions (online forums, chat rooms, etc.). Methods for examining collaborative learning processes include education blogs, conversation analysis, and statistical discourse analysis. Thus, collaborative learning is commonly illustrated when groups of students work together to search for understanding, meaning, or solutions or to create an artifact or product of their learning. Furthermore, collaborative learning redefines the traditional student-teacher relationship in the classroom which results in controversy over whether this paradigm is more beneficial than harmful. Collaborative learning activities can include collaborative writing, group projects, joint problem solving, debates, study teams, and other activities. The approach is closely related to cooperative learning. Often, collaborative learning is used as an umbrella term for a variety of approaches in education that involve a joint intellectual effort by students or students and teachers by engaging individuals in interdependent learning activities. Many have found this to be beneficial in helping students learn effectively and efficiently than if the students were to learn independently. Some positive results from collaborative learning activities are students are able to learn more material by engaging with one another and making sure everyone understands, students retain more information from thoughtful discussion, and students have a more positive attitude about learning and each other by working together. Encouraging collaborative learning may also help improve the learning environment in higher education. Kenneth Bruffee performed a theoretical analysis on the state of higher education in America. Bruffee aimed to redefine collaborative learning in academia. Simply including more interdependent activities will help the students become more engaged and thoughtful learners, but teaching them that obtaining knowledge is a communal activity itself. When compared to more traditional methods where students non-interactively receive information from a teacher, cooperative, problem-based learning demonstrated an improvement of student engagement and retention of classroom material. Additionally, academic achievement and student retention within classrooms are increased. Read the education blog on Extramarks to learn more.

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