What Is Collaborative Learning?

What Is Collaborative Learning?

Answer: Collaborative learning:

    Collaborative learning” is an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together. Usually, students are working in groups of two or more, mutually searching for understanding, solutions, or meanings, or creating a product. Collaborative learning activities vary widely, but most center on students’ exploration or application of the course material, not simply the teacher’s presentation or explication of it.

    Collaborative learning represents a significant shift away from the typical teacher centered or lecture-centered milieu in college classrooms. In collaborative classrooms, the lecturing/ listening/note-taking process may not disappear entirely, but it lives alongside other processes that are based in students’ discussion and active work with thecourse material. Teachers who use collaborative learning approaches tend to think ofthemselves less as expert transmitters of knowledge to students, and more as expertdesigners of intellectual experiences for students-as coaches or mid-wives of a moreemergent learning process.

Assumptions about Learning:

    Though collaborative learning takes on a variety of forms and is practiced by teachers ofdifferent disciplinary backgrounds and teaching traditions, the field is tied together by anumber of important assumptions about learners and the learning process.

Learning is an active, constructive process:
To learn new information, ideas or skills,our students have to work actively with them in purposeful ways. They need to integrate this new material with what they already know-or use it to reorganize what they thought they knew. In collaborative learning situations, our students are not simply taking in newinformation or ideas. They are creating something new with the information and ideas. These acts of intellectual processing- of constructing meaning or creating something new-are crucial to learning.

Learning depends on rich contexts:
Recent research suggests learning is fundamentally

influenced by the context and activity in which it is embedded (Brown, Collins and Dugout, 1989).

Learners are diverse:
Our students bring multiple perspectives to the classroom-diverse

backgrounds, learning styles, experiences, and aspirations. As teachers, we can no longer

assume a one-size-fits- all approach. When students work together on their learning in class, we get a direct and immediate sense of how they are learning, and what experiences and ideas they bring to their work. The diverse perspectives that emerge in collaborative ‘activities are clarifying but not just for us. They are illuminating for our students as well.

Learning is inherently social:

    As Jeff Golub points out, “Collaborative learning has as its main feature a structure that allows for student talk: students are supposed to talk with each other….and it is in this talking that much of the learning occurs.” (Golub, 1988).

Collaborative learning produces intellectual synergy of many minds coming to bear on a problem, and the social stimulation of mutual engagement in a common endeavor. This mutual exploration, meaning-making, and feedback often leads to better understanding on the part of students, and to the creation of new understandings for all of us.

Goals for Education:

    While we use collaborative learning because we believe it helps students learn more effectively, many of us also place a high premium on teaching strategies that go beyond mere mastery of content and ideas. We believe collaborative learning promotes a larger educational agenda, one that encompasses several intertwined rationales.


    Calls to involve students more actively in their learning are coming from virtually every quarter of higher education (Austin, 1985; Bonwell and Eison, 1991; Kuh, 1990; Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in Higher Education, 1984).

Cooperation and teamwork:

    In collaborative endeavors, students inevitably encounter difference, and must grapple with recognizing and working with it. Building the capacities for tolerating or resolving differences, for building agreement that honors all the voices in a group, for caring how others are doing — these abilities are crucial aspects of living in a community. Too often the development of these values and skills is relegated to the “Student Life” side of the campus. Cultivation of teamwork, community building, and leadership skills are legitimate and valuable classroom goals, not just extracurricular ones.

Problem-Centered Instruction:

    Problem-centered instruction, widely used in professional education, frequently is built around collaborative learning strategies. Many of these spring from common roots, especially the work of John Dewey in the early part of this century.

Guided Design:

    Guided Design is the most carefully structured approach to problem centered instruction. The approach asks students, working in small groups, to practice decision-making in sequenced tasks, with detailed feed-back at every step. Developed in the late 1960’s in the engineering program at West Virginia University, the Guided

Design approach has since been adopted in many disciplines and professional programs, most notably in engineering, nursing and pharmacy, but in many liberal arts and sciences courses as well (Burckhardt, 1984; Day et al, 1984; deTornay and Thompson, 1987; Miller, 1981; Roemer, 1981; Vogt et al., 1992).

Writing Groups:

    Both in theory and practice, the most concentrated effort in undergraduate collaborative learning has focused on the teaching of writing. The writing group approach, (known variously as peer response groups, class criticism, or helping circles) has transformed thousands of college writing classes. Through the spread of writing-across-the-curriculum initiatives, writing groups increasingly are appearing in other courses as well.

Peer Teaching:

    With its roots in our one-room schoolhouse tradition, the process of students teaching their fellow students is probably the oldest form of collaborative learning in American education. In recent decades, however, peer teaching approaches have proliferated in higher education, under many names and structures (Whitman, 1988).

Learning Communities:

    Collaborative learning practitioners would say that all collaborative learning is about building learning communities. However, we use the term learning community here in a broader but more specific sense, in terms of intentional reconfiguration of the curriculum. In the past 15 years, a number of colleges have recognized that deep-seated structural factors weaken the quality of undergraduate learning and inhibit the development of community. These schools have attacked the problem directly by developing learning

communities, a “purposeful restructuring of the curriculum to link together courses so that students find greater coherence in what they are learning and increased interaction with faculty and fellow students” (Gabe nick, Macgregor, Matthews, and Smith, 1990).

Q: 02 What Are The Indirect And Direct Instructions For Learning ?

Ans :

The teaching of concepts, inquiry, and problem solving are different forms of indirect instruction that actively involve your learners in seeking resolutions to questions and issues while they construct new knowledge. Indirect instruction is an approach to teaching and learning in which (1) the process is inquiry, (2) the content involves concepts, and (3) the context is a problem.

    These three ideas are brought together in special ways in the indirect instruction model. This chapter presents teaching strategies you can use to compose your own indirect teaching approach that asks your learners to share the excitement of becoming actively involved in their own learning and contributing new knowledge to solve real-world problems. We begin by looking into two classrooms, one in which Tim Robbins is teaching a lesson with the direct instruction model and the other in which Kay Greer is teaching the same lesson with the indirect instruction model.

Comparing Direct and Indirect Instruction

  1. Indirect instruction is an approach to teaching and learning in which concepts, patterns, and abstractions are taught in the context of strategies that emphasize concept learning, inquiry, and problem solving.

    In indirect instruction, the learner acquires information by transforming stimulus material into a response that requires the learner to rearrange and elaborate on the stimulus material.

Content Organization

  1. An advance organizer gives learners a conceptual preview of what is to come and helps them store, label, and package content for retention and later use.

Three approaches to organizing content and composing advance organizers are the concept learning, inquiry, and problem-solving approaches.

Conceptual Movement: Induction and Deduction:

  1. Induction starts with a specific observation of a limited set of data and ends with a generalization about a much broader context.

Deduction proceeds from principles or generalizations to their application in specific contexts.

The Use of Questions to Guide Search and Discovery:

  • In indirect instruction, the role of questions is to guide students into discovering new dimensions of a problem or new ways of resolving a dilemma.
  • Some uses of questions during indirect instruction include the following:
    • Refocusing
    • Presenting contradictions to be resolved
    • Probing for deeper, more thorough responses
    • Extending the discussion to new areas

Passing responsibility to the class

Learner Experience and Use of Student Ideas:

  1. Student ideas can be used to heighten student interest, to organize subject content around student problems, to tailor feedback to fit individual students, and to encourage positive attitudes toward the subject. Because these goals should not become ends unto themselves, there should be a plan and structure for using student ideas in the context of strategies to promote problem solving, inquiry, and concept learning.
  2. Student-centered learning, sometimes called unguided discovery learning, allows the student to select both the form and substance of the learning experience. This is appropriate in the context of independently conducted experiments, research projects, science fair projects, and demonstrations. However, the reorganization of content is always necessary to ensure that the use of student ideas promotes the goals of the curriculum.

Use of Group Discussion:

  • A group discussion involves student exchanges with successive interactions among large numbers of students. During these exchanges, you may intervene only occasionally to review and summarize, or you may schedule periodic interaction to evaluate each group’s progress and to redirect the discussion when necessary.
  • The best topics for discussion include those that are not formally structured by texts and workbooks and for which a high degree of consensus among your students does not yet exist.
  • Your moderating functions during discussion include the following:
    • Orient students to the objective of the discussion.
    • Provide new or more accurate information that may be needed.
    • Review, summarize, and relate opinions and facts.

Redirect the flow of information and ideas back to the objective of the discussion.

Final Word:

  1. Direct and indirect instruction is often used together, even within the same lesson, and you should not adopt one model to the exclusion of the other. Each contains a set of strategies that can compose an efficient and effective method for the teaching of facts, rules, and sequences and to solve problems, inquire, and learn concepts.


    Because of its constructivist nature, indirect instruction has the advantage of making the student an active learner. Learning is something that is “done by” the student, not “done to” the student, as the teacher moves from the role of instructor to one of facilitator. Indirect instruction enhances creativity and helps to develop problem-solving skills. Its resource-based nature brings depth and breadth to the learning experience.


Because indirect instruction is learning-centered, it may take more class time to accomplish learning goals than when direct instruction is utilized. As facilitator, the teacher must give control of the learning to the students, which may initially be uncomfortable. There is also more of a challenge involved in ensuring that the students do accomplish the required learning objectives.

Question:03 What Are The Different Teaching Methods ?

Answer : Introduction:

    A teaching method comprises the principles and methods used for instruction to be implemented by teachers to achieve the desired learning in students. These strategies are determined partly on subject matter to be taught and partly by the nature of the learner. For a particular teaching method to be appropriate and efficient it has to be in relation with the characteristic of the learner and the type of learning it is supposed to bring about. Davis (1997) suggests that the design and selection of teaching methods must take into account not only the nature of the subject matter but also how students learn.[1] In today’s school the trend is that it encourages a lot of creativity. It is a known fact that human advancement comes through reasoning. This reasoning and original thought enhances creativity. The approaches for teaching can be broadly classified into teacher centered and student centered. In Teacher-Centered Approach to Learning, Teachers are the main authority figure in this model. Students are viewed as “empty vessels” whose primary role is to passively receive information (via lectures and direct instruction) with an end goal of testing and assessment. It is the primary role of teachers to pass knowledge and information onto their students. In this model, teaching and assessment are viewed as two separate entities. Student learning is measured through objectively scored tests and assessments.[2] In Student-Centered Approach to Learning, while teachers are an authority figure in this model, teachers and students play an equally active role in the learning process. The teacher’s primary role is to coach and facilitate student learning and overall comprehension of material. Student learning is measured through both formal and informal forms of assessment, including group projects, student portfolios, and class participation. Teaching and assessments are connected; student learning is continuously measured during teacher instruction.[2] Commonly used teaching methods may include class participation, demonstration, recitation, memorization, or combinations of these.

Methods of instruction:

The lecture method is just one of several teaching methods, though in schools it’s usually considered the primary one. It isn’t surprising, either. The lecture method is convenient and usually makes the most sense, especially with larger classroom sizes. This is why lecturing is the standard for most college courses, when there can be several hundred students in the classroom at once; lecturing lets professors address the most people at once, in the most general manner, while still conveying the information that he or she feels is most important, according to the lesson plan.[3] While the lecture method gives the instructor or teacher chances to expose students to unpublished or not readily available material, the students plays a passive role which may hinder learning. While this method facilitates large-class communication, the lecturer must make constant and conscious effort to become aware of student problems and engage the students to give verbal feedback. It can be used to arouse interest in a subject provided the instructor has effective writing and speaking skills.


    Demonstrating is the process of teaching through examples or experiments. For example, a science teacher may teach an idea by performing an experiment for students. A demonstration may be used to prove a fact through a combination of visual evidence and associated reasoning.

Demonstrations are similar to written storytelling and examples in that they allow students to personally relate to the presented information. Memorization of a list of facts is a detached and impersonal experience, whereas the same information, conveyed through demonstration, becomes personally relatable. Demonstrations help to raise student interest and reinforce memory retention because they provide connections between facts and real-world applications of those facts. Lectures, on the other hand, are often geared more towards factual presentation than connective learning.


Collaboration allows students to actively participate in the learning process by talking with each other and listening to other points of view. Collaboration establishes a personal connection between students and the topic of study and it helps students think in a less personally biased way. Group projects and discussions are examples of this teaching method. Teachers may employ collaboration to assess student’s abilities to work as a team, leadership skills, or presentation abilities.

Classroom discussion:

The most common type of collaborative method of teaching in a class is classroom discussion. It is the also a democratic way of handling a class, where each student is given equal opportunity to interact and put forth their views. A discussion taking place in a classroom can be either facilitated by a teacher or by a student. A discussion could also follow a presentation or a demonstration. Class discussions can enhance student understanding.

Classroom Action Research:

Classroom Action Research is a method of finding out what works best in your own classroom so that you can improve student learning. We know a great deal about good teaching in general (e.g. McKeachie, 1999; Chickering and Gamson, 1987; Weimer, 1996), but every teaching situation is unique in terms of content, level, student skills and learning styles, teacher skills and teaching styles, and many other factors. To maximize student learning, a teacher must find out what works best in a particular situation.

Evolution of teaching methods:

Ancient education:

About 3000 BC, with the advent of writing, education became more conscious or self-reflecting, with specialized occupations such as scribe and astronomer requiring particular skills and knowledge. Philosophy in ancient Greece led to questions of educational method entering national discourse.

    In his literary work The RepublicPlato described a system of instruction that he felt would lead to an ideal state. In his dialogues, Plato described the Socratic method, a form of inquiry and debate intended to stimulate critical thinking and illuminate ideas.

It has been the intent of many educators since, such as the Roman educator Quintilian, to find specific, interesting ways to encourage students to use their intelligence and to help them to learn.

Medieval education:

    Comenius, in Bohemia, wanted all children to learn. In his The World in Pictures, he created an illustrated textbook of things children would be familiar with in everyday life and used it to teach children. Rabelais described how the student Gargantua learned about the world, and what is in it.

Much later, Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his Emile, presented methodology to teach children the elements of science and other subjects. During Napoleonic warfare, the teaching methodology of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi of Switzerland enabled refugee children, of a class believed to be unteachable[by whom?], to learn. He described this in his account of an educational experiment at Stanz.[citation needed]

19th century – compulsory education:

Main article: Prussian education system

    The Prussian education system was a system of mandatory education dating to the early 19th century. Parts of the Prussian education system have served as models for the education systems in a number of other countries, including Japan and the United States. The Prussian model required classroom management skills to be incorporated into the teaching process.[10]

20th century:

    Newer teaching methods may incorporate television, radio, internet,multi media and other modern devices. Some educators
believe that the use of technology, while facilitating learning to some degree, is not a substitute for educational methods that encourage critical thinking and a desire to learn. Inquiry learning is another modern teaching method. A popular teaching method that is being used by a vast majority of teachers is hands on activities. Hands-on activities are activities that require movement, talking, and listening, it activates multiple areas of the brain. “The more parts of your brain you use, the more likely you are to retain information,” says Judy Dodge, author of 25 Quick Formative Assessments for a Differentiated Classroom (Scholastic, 2009).

General Teaching Methods:

  •     The difference between learner-centered and curriculum-centered classrooms is philosophical. Constructivists adhere to learner-centered classrooms. Standards-based teachers adhere to curriculum-centered classrooms.

  •     There are many different ways in which you can effectively teach your students. Learn about many different methodologies here. New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable when they’re determining which method is most effective for them.

  • Learn the ten basic standards for good teaching and how you can be a successful, effective teacher.

  • An overview of authentic assessments.

  • One of the most common resources in the classroom is the textbook; learn the advantages of this tool plus way to integrate other resources into your teaching. New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable.

  • Challenge your students with all levels of questions as defined by Bloom’s Taxonomy. They will be doing higher-level thinking and you will have a more interesting classroom! New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable.

  • Give your students time to think about your questions before asking for an answer; this is called “wait time.” This professional development advice will prove especially useful to new teachers.

  • Learn about the benefits of problem-solving and how to include it in your teaching. Problem-solving is the ability to identify and solve problems by applying appropriate skills systematically.

    Cooperative Learning:

  •     Learn the basics of successfully teaching your class with the cooperative learning method. Group projects are an excellent way to help your students build important communication and teamwork skills. New teachers will find this resource particularly valuable.

  • Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different ability levels, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. By using this method, each of your students will feel that he or she is an important member of the class.

  • Get information on cooperative learning, an instructional strategy in which small groups of students work together on a common task. This teaching method is an excellent way to allow students to think critically without relying on you for answers.

  • Inclusion:

    Adapting Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science for the Inclusive Classroom

    A list of steps that provide a suggested framework for making decisions about using material adaptations effectively.

  • Descriptions of eight principles for making reading and math adaptations in the inclusive classroom.

  • Two well-defined strategies are described for helping special needs students become independent learners.

  • An overview of six curricular design issues that help ensure appropriate inclusive teaching.