Deree - The American College of Greece (GREECE)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN17 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 8041-8050
ISBN: 978-84-697-3777-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2017.0479
Conference name: 9th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2017
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Collaborative learning is a term that describes educational approaches that involve joint intellectual efforts by students or students and instructors together. It includes instructional methods in which students work together in small groups, engaging in a common task and towards a common goal. It is a form of active learning as it places the learner in the center of the instruction process and it involves interaction and “doing” as its primary elements; students explore course material and the instructor plays the role of a coach/facilitator in the learning process. Examples of collaborative learning include cooperative learning, problem-based instruction, writing groups, peer teaching and learning communities. Collaborative learning is supported by social constructivism theories, according to which knowledge is a social construct; as a form of social interaction, it is essential for an individual’s cognitive development.

This study focuses on the use of collaborative learning as a strategy to enhance student engagement and motivation as well as to increase learning effectiveness. It is based on the results of a survey addressed to academics from different disciplines and different countries. The authors’ main goals were to assess instructors’ teaching pedagogy and perception of collaborative learning, and to explore ways in which this form of learning is used in higher education. Frequently used modes of collaborative learning are identified and their effectiveness in achieving teaching goals is discussed. The use of online tools to facilitate collaborative learning is also examined. Suggestions/recommendations to enhance the use and effectiveness of collaborative learning in higher education as part of an overall active learning strategy are provided.
Collaborative learning, cooperative learning, group work, active learning, higher education.