8 Best Ways to Facilitate Collaborative Learning in Classroom
- Jul 08, 2014
Have you heard the old adage ‘two heads are better than one? Indeed collaborative learning is gaining popularity with each passing day. If you go back to history, it was a small collaborative club on computer programing that brought two magnets together during their middle school dates. They are none other than Bill Gates as well as Paul Allen, the famous Microsoft’s founders.
As the phrase suggests, collaborative learning facilities high level of thinking and also helps students to preserve important information for a prolonged period of time than individual study session. Since the students involved with this type of study they have to the scope to learn through discussion, assessment as well as clarification of ideas with other people.
Here are a few ways to include best practices for collaborative learning in classroom:
Determine goals of the entire study group
Successful collaborative learning calls for establishing group objectives as well as individual accountability. Make sure you also set clear cut goals for your class especially before assigning a project or assignment. In this you can help your students to complete the assignment on time.
Deal with groups of moderate size
You should always deal with midsized group. Small groups of three or less number of people lack diversity and should not allow scope for divergent thinking. Large groups allow less scope of participation of all the members of the class. The ideal is to deal with medium sized group of four to five people.
Develop flexible norms for your groups
Recent research indicates that this type of new age learning facilitates effective interactivity. Indeed interactivity as well as negotiation is vital for group learning. In a special study conducted during 60s, norms become pervasive, at times unusual norms were also handed down. And if you notice you have to handle this type of norm in two ways. The first option is to rotate your group members. The next option is make use of information from different external sources and create new norm.
You may also ask the new students to form their own norms. Even old students can have their own set of rules. Be it for young students or old folks, the thumb rule is to create flexible norms. Norms change from one situation to another and therefore it is vital that the study groups you create should not be rigid as well as intolerant.
Develop trust as well as facilitate communication between members
Effective interpersonal communication should exist between the members of a group. It also helps in developing trust between them. Create assignments that encourage the group members to explain different concepts amongst each other. According to the recent studies, the students who offer and also receive complex and intricate explanations get most out of this collaborative learning structure.
Make use of Jigsaw strategy or other essential strategies
Most tutors recommend Jigsaw strategy or other essential strategies to improve the scope of social interaction to initiate proper learning. The classroom often looks like jigsaw. It involves separation of assignment into different subtasks where each and every student has to research in their assigned area. The students with similar topic from other groups could also meet together in order to discuss and exchange ideas between the groups. This kind of collaborative education helps the students to gain expertise in the assigned topic. Then these students should return to primary group and share knowledge with your own team members.
Use real life problems
The experts suggest that a project centric learning using open ended queries is highly engaging. Instead of spending long hours to design artificial teaching set-up, you should always take inspiration from your day to day problems of your teaching profession. These real life problems may be effectively used for facilitating project centric learning and help you to make most out of collaborative learning.
In the beginning of the project you should give more responsibilities to the students. And once the students start understanding different concepts you can diminish their tasks. Through the process you have to serve as facilitator by gauging group communications in the best possible manner. Allowing the student groups to become responsible means allowing them to plan out their own study topics or assignments. Increased responsibility of students is one of the objectives of collaborative learning.
In a collaborative learning scenario, the students require to respect as well as appreciate each other’s point of view. For example classroom discussion should focus on the need of developing different perspective. You can in fact develop classroom ambience that motivates independent thinking. You can use few popular examples where people involving in collaborative working achieve huge success to encourage the students.
Make use of the best strategies to incorporate collaborative learning in your class for better results.
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