A collaborative study in classroom settings allows students to come together and solve problems amongst themselves. This encourages better problem-solving skills and decision-making. It also helps children become more sociable and learn to work with others, skills that are valuable later on in life.
To encourage collaborative learning, more schools are increasing opportunities for students to discuss school work amongst themselves. Even school desks are evolving, with modular, flexible options becoming increasingly popular. Modern school desks can be pushed together with ease so that students can face each other whilst working in groups.
A study released by Richard Anderson of the Illinois College of Education in the U.S., studied 760 fifth grade students to determine the efficacy of collaborative learning.
Students were split into groups and allowed to learn together instead of the standard teacher-led instruction common in most classrooms. They were given a literary project to work on, where they were presented with several moral dilemmas relating to the characters in a story.
After completing the project, the study concluded that the children who worked together tended to make more thoughtful, reasoned decisions compared to those who worked alone. This is because a group environment allows them to consider a range of ideas to support varying view points – the students who worked in groups would often weigh the costs and benefits of each point before making a decision.
Collaborative education also allows for the introduction of argumentation – groups that discuss and debate a problem first also tend to have higher levels of micro-creativity. Micro-creativity refers to a person’s ability to come up with new ideas. According to a study conducted by the State University of New York, polite disagreements between students increased micro –creativity by as much as 11 per cent.
There is no doubt that collaborative learning is a highly beneficial teaching method, especially for problem-solving and decision-making.