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Collaborative learning is a condition wherein two or more individuals study or endeavor to learn something collectively Alvermann, 1987. Different to singular learning, people are involved in collaborative learning in order to make the most of one another's resources and abilities. Through collective learning, individuals ask each other for information; assess one another's thoughts and monitors each other's work (Harding, 1993). More explicitly, collaborative learning is centered on the idea that understanding can be made within a populace where members energetically interrelate by sharing experiences and take on uneven roles. Put differently, this kind of learning denotes to approaches and environments in which students are involved in a common assignment where each person rely on and is answerable to each other (Alvermann, 1987). These take account of both face-to-face discussions and computer conferences like online meetings, conversation rooms, among others. Methods for scrutinizing collaborative learning practices include discussion analysis and statistical dialogue analysis.
Therefore collaborative learning is system of teaching where students join forces in tackling a certain assignment (Harding, 1993). In this approach, learners can produce the singular parts of a greater assignment independently and then "amass" the ultimate assignment together, as a team. Collaborative learning is very vital in tackling both a semester-long assignment with numerous results and a single problem during lesson; collaborative learning can differ significantly in scope and aims. Sometimes, cooperative learning is mixed up with collaborative learning, defines an approach where learners work together in tiny groups on an organized activity. In this case, students are independently answerable for both their work and the work of entire group.
With no doubt, I do agree with the collaborative approaches to learning due to the various aspects in brings in the teaching and learning processes. Collaborative approaches to learning have many benefits that help in improving the quality of education offered to the students.
This paper is seeking to show the extent at which collaborative approaches to learning is important in the learning and teaching process. In doing so, the paper will include the importance of this approach to learning and other learning approaches that fall under collaborative approaches.
Importance of collaborative approaches to learning
There are very many positive contributions that collaborative approaches to learning have to the learning and teaching process. The following are importance of collaborative approaches to learning
Pooled Knowledge among Tutors and Learners
Contrary to old-style classrooms where central symbol for teaching was the tutor as information provider; information flew merely in one way, from tutor to learner, the symbol for collaborative classrooms is mutual knowledge (Harding, 1993). The tutor has a very important familiarity with the content, instruction, skills, and still offers that information to learners. Nevertheless, collaborative instructors similarly value and build upon the understanding, individual experiences, approaches, language and principles that learners bring to the learning environment.
For example, when considering a class session on insect-eating plants, very few learners, and possibly few tutors, are probable of having straight information about such plants. Therefore, when those learners who do have significant understandings are given a chance to share what they have, the entire class is enriched. Also, when learners see that their experiences and information are respected, they are inspired to pay attention and study in new ways, and they are further probable of making significant relations between their individual learning and institution learning (Harding, 1993).
Collective Power among Tutors and Learners
In collaborative tutorial room, tutors share authority with learners in very explicit ways. In most customary tutorial room, the tutor was essentially, if not wholly, in charge for setting objectives, planning learning tasks, and evaluating whatever is to be learned.
Collaborative tutors differ in that they call students to set explicit aims within the agenda of what they being educated about, provide alternatives for various events and projects that capture diverse student benefits and objectives, and hearten students to evaluate what they study (Harding, 1993). Collaborative teachers inspire students' use of their own understanding, make sure that learners share their knowledge and their learning methods, understanding each other politely, and concentrate on high levels of appreciativeness. Tutors assist students listen to various thoughts, support knowledge assertions with proof, participate in critical and imaginative thinking, and contribute in open and expressive discussion (Johnson, 1988).
For example, if the learners have just read a section on American history and are have to write a product on the topic, a more old-styled tutor might request all learners to write a five page- essay. In contrary, the collaborative tutor might request learners to outline the product themselves. Some could plan a film; some might dramatize happenings in American History while other could explore original sources that back the textbook section and draw contrasts among them. In this case, as a result of collaborative approaches to learning, learners have chances of asking and exploring queries of individual interest, and also have an opinion in the decision-making practice (Slavin, 1987). These chances are vital for both self-regulated teaching and learning in addition to inspiration.
Diverse Groupings of Learners
The viewpoints, backgrounds and experiences of all learners are significant for inspiring learning in the tutorial room. Due to the fact that learning outside the classroom progressively necessitates understanding of various perceptions, it is indispensable to offer students with opportunities to do this in several settings in schools (Harding, 1993). In collaborative tutorial room where learners are engaged in a thinking program, everyone studies from everybody else, and no single learner is denied this chance of making contributions.
Therefore, a very important characteristic of collaborative tutorial room is that learners are not grouped in relation to hypothetical ability, interests, accomplishment, or any additional characteristic (Cohen, 1982). Separation extremely deteriorates collaboration and depletes the schoolroom by depriving all learners of chances to learn with and from each other. Learners might label ineffective in a traditional classroom that majorly learnt from "brighter" pupils, but then again, more significantly, the so-called brighter pupils have just as plentiful to learn from normal peers. Instructors starting to teach collaboratively often express pleasure when they perceive the understandings exposed by their allegedly weaker students (Cohen, 1982).
Having looked at the importance of collaborative approaches to learning, this part of the essay will focus on the other approaches that go together with collaborative approaches to learning. The following are those approaches:
Collaborative Approaches to Learning and Related Approaches
Metacognition approach work together with collaborative approaches to learning. This fact is supported by aspects employed by Metacognition approach in the students' learning process.
Metacognition accurately means "immense thinking". In this case, individuals think about thoughts. In the course of this process an individual examines brain dealing out (Darling, 2008). Tutors work to direct learners to develop into more strategic intellectuals by assisting them recognizes the way they are handling information (Darling, 2008). Inquiring, imagining, and blending of information are all techniques that students can inspect their thinking process. Through framework and mutual teaching, learners are able to exercise the abilities that lead to these explicit acts of becoming automatic.
Metacognition is a very important, yet every so often disregarded as element of learning. Effective learning encompasses preparation and goal-setting, checking one's development, and familiarizing as required (Flavell, 1979). All of these undertakings are metacognitive in nature. By educating learners about these skills, where everything of these can be learnt, individuals can recover pupil learning. Metacognition involves three critical steps. They include:
Firstly, teaching and making student understand that learners their capacity to learn is changeable. In this case, students are encouraged to work extra hard in order to increase their understanding concerning various educational aspects (Fisher & Wells, 2009).
Secondly, teaching Strategizing and goal-setting. This is a very important step since it ensures that plans are put in place in order to ensure that everything goes well in realization of set goals toward the end of the teaching and learning process. This is very beneficial to the learning of the students.
Thirdly, giving students plenty chances to practice, monitor their learning progress and familiarizing themselves as much as necessary. This step is in line with collaborative approaches to learning. Generally, Metacognition approach work collectively with collaborative approaches to learning (Flavell, 1979).
Reflection approaches is another is another learning process that work collectively with collaborative approaches to learning.
Reflection approach is symbolic of deep learning where learning and teaching activities for instance reflection are present. In some cases, surface learning can also result.
In reflection approach, students are given tasks which help them learn through reflection, accurately because of the recognized association between deeper learning and reflection (Rimanoczy, 2007). In addition to monitoring learning and easing learning, the objective is to produce individuals who have developed the practice of reflection as a means of enduring to learn and develop in their occupations. Actually, reflection can result into individual growth which could be either professional growth or meaningful transformation (Rimanoczy, 2007).
Reflective approach is a very vital tool in practice created professional learning situations where persons learning from their personal professional skills, instead of from knowledge transfer or official training, may be the most significant source of personal professional advancement and progress. By itself the perception has realized wide take-up, predominantly in professional growth for practitioners in the field of education.
Reflective approach has a lot of impacts on the student learning process. For example, it helps the students acquire self-awareness skills as well as ability of seeking out optimistic criticism and reflecting on areas of apparent restriction. It also enhances self-evaluation ability that helps the students in keeping of learning weeklies and collections, reflecting at various phases in the learning process (Rimanoczy, 2007).
Another learning process that fall under collaborative approaches to learning is deep and surface learning. In this part, the paper will discuss what both of them are.
Occasionally, people assumption of deep learning is not all that deep. Naturally, the principle of deep learning is appreciative and true perceptive. In this learning approach, students are encouraged to fully understand and have a true knowing of what they learn from teachers and other students.
Surface learning on the other hand attempt to sass out what the tutor wants to deliver, and is likely to be inspired mainly by fear of flop. The efforts by instructors to deliver that what they need is deep learning which simply prospers in getting surface learners to participate in ever further complex contextualizing exercises, attempting to use surface approaches to replicate the structures of the deep approach (Rimanoczy, 2007). This therefore shows that deep and surface learning go hand in hand with one another.
To sum up, collaborative approaches to learning have other related approaches to learning which fall under it. All these approaches have great impacts in the student learning process.