Collaborative learning or group work is a regular part of “the real world”. In the work place, the opportunities to work in team environments within and outside an organization are increasing. Collaborative skills have become critical and a necessity for 21st century students.
Collaborative learning requires students to work in a group and collaborate to either solve problems or develop a product. During the collaborative process, group members are able to contribute their individual thoughts to analyze the issue (or the major task), share perspectives, apply new knowledge and create a final product collaboratively. Also described by The Simon Initiative of Carnegie Melon University, the benefits of collaborative learning include:
- Sharing of ideas based on personal experiences
- Distribution of roles and responsibility
- Development of personal opinions and perspectives
- Improved collaboration skills
Although students can benefit from collaborative learning, it takes time for the team to become acquainted, establish the norm and be functional with one another. Most often, students complaint that their team is either not effective or suffer from team members’ irresponsible behaviors. Most of these complaints can be resolved by careful planning and design of the collaborative task.
The Simon Initiative. What are the benefits of group work? Carnegie Melon University.