What is collaborative learning?
Collaborative learning is a process of teaching and learning whereby students work together as a team for the sole purposes of solving a common problem or creating a valid project. It involves groups of students learning/working together over the Internet or in a classroom setting.
Collaborative learning encompasses students into small groups (cooperative learning), and individuals are accountable for allocated work and the groups are also assessed based on their whole performances. Sharing students into groups makes it easier for them to be relaxed, and make learning faster and interactive.
What’s the difference compared to traditional learning?
Collaborative learning is different from the traditional way of learning in many ways. While the points provided here are not exhaustive, the following are some of the distinguishable differences:
1. Traditional way of learning involves each student learning at his own pace and taking his homework or class assignments alone. But collaborative learning makes learning more interesting by bringing together students with varied intellectuality, with each person tapping from the others’ area of comparative advantage.
2. Another remarkable difference is in the area of fostering unity and co-operation. Under the traditional approach, students see themselves as competitors, but with collaborative learning, everyone works together thereby boosting their understanding of what it means to work for the common interest of one another.
3. The world currently places emphasis on working as a “team player”. Traditional approach does not produce team players and individuals learn in seclusion or isolation. But collaborative learning helps to train students to develop their skills as team players, which they eventually carry over into their working life.
4. Collaborative learning also instills leadership quality into students. In the course of doing their assignments, each student is given an opportunity to face the audience and make his presentations. By so doing, they gradually improve their self-esteem and build up their leadership traits.
Benefits of collaborative learning
Collaborative learning has a lot of benefits for the students amongst which are:
- Developing interpersonal skills: learning alone makes it difficult to develop skills needed to integrate into a larger group. But with collaborative learning, this is taken care of. With learning in groups, individuals gradually identify how to address larger audiences, and overcome shyness.
- Learning faster: collaborative learning makes learning, research and solving of problems faster. This is so because the time spent on searching for solution is relatively reduced as each aspect of the assignment is handled by an individual. At the end, resources are pooled together for the common good of the entire group.
- Skills for conflict resolution: it enhances the ability to easily develop skills needed to resolve conflicts. Working in groups has its own challenges since people with diverse orientations and backgrounds work together. This diversity brings some challenges and conflict with it. But collaborative learning helps students understand how to take care of those conflicts since they are able to understand the cultural differences existing among them.
- Better feedback: In larger groups, it is difficult for everyone to get feedbacks about their ideas and responses. But with collaborative learning, individuals easily receive feedbacks as there are fewer persons to reach in each group. This in a way helps to boost interest and create a sense of belonging.
- Acceptance of individual differences: Individuals have different approaches to solving problems and questions raised within the group. Accepting the opinions and views of others makes it possible to come up with more comprehensive and more acceptable answers to issues.
How to use collaborative learning in conjunction with technology
Collaborative learning can be used in conjunction with modern technology. For example, the Internet now houses so much information that students can easily tap from this available resources to enhance learning. The use of materials from reliable websites can facilitate research and learning.
Just as the Internet provides places to seek for information and make researches, other modern technologies like the use of mobile (smart phones and tablets) provide means of facilitating teaching and learning collaborations. Here are some mobile App tools for collaborative learning:
You can store and share photos, videos, documents, and other files with Google Drive and it also provides up to 15GB of free cloud storage.
Teachers and students can use social reader – Flipboard to create your own magazines of digital content.
Students and teachers can transform PowerPoint presentations or PDF slides into auto-played online presentation for sharing.
Educational social platform for students and teachers to engage and collaborate.
This recordable whiteboard can help you to create video tutorials by simply touching, tapping and talking.
An interactive whiteboard tool allows students to annotate and narrate anything anywhere.
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From Mobile App development company TouchApp