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Effective learning in groups

Research tells us that one way we can make group learning for students more beneficial is by getting them to work cooperatively
© National STEM Learning Centre
Research tells us that one way we can make group learning for students more beneficial is by getting them to work cooperatively.
In their review of literature about collaborative learning, Laal and Godeshi (2012) state:
“Higher level thinking skills are developed by collaborative learning (Webb, N.M., 1982)… Students working together represent the most effective form of interaction. When students work in pairs one person is listening while the other partner is discussing the question under investigation. Both are developing valuable problem solving skills by formulating their ideas, discussing them, receiving immediate feedback and responding to questions and comments (Johnson, D.W., 1971; Peterson, P.L. & Swing, S.R., 1985).”
Collaborative learning is an educational approach to teaching and learning that involves groups of students working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product. Laal and Godeshi (2012) argue that learning flourishes in a social environment where conversation between learners takes place.


Planning for collaborative learning
In the quote above, collaborative learning is implied to be useful in a range of learning activities. We have shown in previous weeks how our teachers have used collaborative learning in different ways as part of the way they elicit evidence about their students’ understanding.
What is your view about where within in a lesson collaborative learning brings the most advantages and where it presents the most challenges? Post below.
You may wish to read Laal and Godeshi’s paper, which summarises further characteristics of collaborative learning.
© National STEM Learning Centre
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Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

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