Collaborative learning is a student-centered approach where students actively engage with both the material and other students in a meaningful way. When engaging in collaborative learning exercises rather than individual learning, students experience increases in achievement, retention of material, problem solving ability, motivation, time on task, positive attitudes toward subject matter, and positive peer relationships.
The success of a collaborative learning activity is influenced by the nature of the work, the group composition, and the interactions among the group members. To maximize collaborative learning for your students:
- Provide instruction for group work and a clear structure for the activity,
- Assign high-complexity learning tasks that are completed more easily in a group than alone, and
- Create heterogeneous student groups.
Click on the graphic to reveal all of the specific strategies to increase collaborative learning in the classroom. Try one or more to continuously engage your students.
Collaborative learning is the 3rd of 7 principles for effective undergraduate teaching we have reviewed. Previous topics included Connecting with Students Outside of the Classroom and Activities that Engage Students. Subscribe to the blog to be sure you don’t miss the other 4 principles, as well as other great topics on the CITL Blog this year. If you would like to discuss any of these tips in more detail, please contact the CITL for an individual consultation. For more on collaborative learning, you can read Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty.
7 Principles of Good Teaching Blog Series – by Shannon Sipes