Collaborative Learning

What is collaborative learning?

    
  
 

Collaborative learning is an educational approach to teaching and learning that involves groups of learners working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product. Collaborative learning is based on the idea that learning is a naturally social act in which the participants talk among themselves. It is through the talk that learning occurs.

There are many approaches to collaborative learning:

  1. Learning is an active process whereby learners assimilate the information and relate this new knowledge to a framework of prior knowledge.
  2. Learning requires a challenge that opens the door for the learner to actively engage his/her peers, and to process and synthesize information rather than simply memorize and regurgitate it.
  3. Learners benefit when exposed to diverse viewpoints from people with varied backgrounds.
  4. Learning flourishes in a social environment where conversation between learners takes place. During this intellectual gymnastics, the learner creates a framework and meaning to the discourse.
  5. In the collaborative learning environment, the learners are challenged both socially and emotionally as they listen to different perspectives, and are required to articulate and defend their ideas. In so doing, the learners begin to create their own unique conceptual frameworks and not rely solely on an expert's or a text's framework.
Thus, in a collaborative learning setting, learners have the opportunity to converse with peers, present and defend ideas, exchange diverse beliefs, question other conceptual frameworks, and be actively engaged.
Source: National Institute for Science Education

 
 
 Hari Srinivas - hsrinivas@gdrc.org
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