Humans are inherently social. Peer collaboration is critical to the way we learn and the way the world works. When filling out a job application, employers will want to see how you work in teams, and collaborate to achieve maximum results. Walk into a lecture however, and you’ll often find you won’t even speak to the person next to you. Here is how collaborative learning helps you!
See a different perspective:
If you can’t bounce an idea off someone, or hear a different opinion on the idea, it’s hard to be sure you’ve covered all possibilities. It’s hard to tell yourself you’re wrong and that’s why great ideas require collaboration.
Multiple viewpoints and ways to interact with the material:
There’s always a topic where you spend hours pouring over lecture notes and textbooks, only to have a friend simply explain the concept to you, noting you missed one key nugget. Interacting with the material in multiple ways helps the brain understand the concept more thoroughly. This leads to a deeper understanding of the material, instead of simple memorization.
Benefits all personality types:
A great teacher and Professor often spoke about the outdated nature of the Peripatetic school of teaching, developed by Aristotle at the Lyceum in Athens in 334 BC, and still in “vogue” at universities around the country.
His point was that some students failed to interact in large lecture theatres or groups, often for fear of embarrassment or because of lack of opportunity, or inability to verbalise thoughts. Group collaboration allows for different student strengths to be utilised. Weaknesses in large classes can be turned into strengths in small group discussions.
Collaboration is an essential part of any first class education. Nine Principles Guiding Teaching and Learning is a document produced by Universities, exhorting the benefits of collaborative learning (see pages 3, 4, 8, 13).
Social skills are born out of collaboration, and being able to articulate yourself is crucial when you leave school or university. Those who can fully articulate their opinions, work well within a team, will find themselves succeeding ahead of those who cannot.