The Benefits of Collaborative Learning

In my previous post I started a discussion about “what is collaborative learning?”.  A related question to ask is “why should we use collaborative learning strategies in our classrooms”?  In other words, do collaborative learning strategies improve student outcomes in ways that would not be possible without them?

Here is my “top 5” list of benefits of collaborative learning

Collaborative learning strategies…

  • Increase students’ engagement in their learning.

Working on a project with classmates that involves investigating an issue, solving a problem or creating a product is more motivating for most students than passive learning activities.

  • Develop communication, conflict resolution and other social skills.

Students can only achieve their goals in a collaborative task by sharing ideas and negotiating.  These skills are important for their community and work place involvement now and in the future.

  • Encourage creativity, critical thinking and problem solving.

In most collaborative learning activities, there is no easy answer but many possible ways to develop a solution.  Students have the opportunity to practice “thinking outside the box”.

  • Demonstrate the value of diversity.

As in real life, no one student has all of the skills or answers in a collaborative project.  Students learn to value the perspectives of others who are different.

  • Provide authentic opportunities for Biblical integration.

There are often opportunities to engage students in thinking through Biblical ideas and principles while working on a collaborative activity.

What other benefits of collaborative learning have you experienced? Add your ideas in the comments below.

Current Issues
Creating Space for Thinking in the Classroom
Current Issues
Supporting Learning Through Peer and Self-Assessment
Developing Student Leaders: The significance of community
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