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Wisdom Vine

5 Key Benefits of Collaborative Learning

“Coming together is a beginning, 

staying together is progress, 

and working together is success.”

Henry Ford

With the current situation, many parents are trying to figure out the best way to continue their kid’s education with minimal disruption. Even though most of the parents are trying to home-schooling their children, they still want to provide a classroom kind of environment where their child can interact with other children. Is that a valid expectation? Absolutely! From where I see, parents are looking for nothing but a collaborative studying environment where they want their child to have an overall personality development. And I will not shy away by saying that I am home-schooling my 4-year-old kid which has made me realize the merits of collaborative learning in comparison to silo learning even more. Let’s have a look at some of them:

1. Interactive Classroom Environment

When children study in groups, be it in a physical or online classroom, it gives them opportunities to discuss, build on each other’s ideas, debate, clear misconceptions, and reach logical conclusions. The learning process is much more interactive and interesting which tends to develop a feeling of healthy competition among children and motivates them to do better. Students take more ownership of their tasks and outcomes. They collaborate with one another to breakdown complex topics to understand them, leading to deeper learning rather than rote memorization.

2. Skill Building

As a teacher and a mother, another huge upside of collaborative learning that I have noticed is it inculcates essential qualities of patience, listening, empathy, teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving among children which helps them immensely in their future lives. Be it teaching a 4-year-old to keep patience and wait for his/her turn or teaching a 14-year-old to be open to listening to his/her peers, accepting different perspectives and viewpoints on a given issue, overcoming differences and capitalizing on one another’s strengths, resources, and skills. 

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3. Interpersonal Communication

As a teacher, I have also observed that learning with other students helps children to improve their communication skills by enabling them to articulate their ideas and thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Especially, it assists children with introvert personalities to overcome stage fear and increases their self-confidence and self-esteem. It teaches them to organize, assign, and manage themselves as well as others in the group for a common goal.

4. Feedback Acknowledgement

The most important factor is that collaborative learning helps students in taking responsibility, assessing themselves as well as their peers, and learning from their own mistakes and mistakes of others. When studying in groups, positive reinforcement works wonders in encouraging children to emulate behavior that is appreciated by the teachers which brings a positive behavioral change. 

5. Developing Future Outlook

As more and more families are becoming nuclear, the need for peer learning becomes increasingly vital. Whether it is in the field of sports, professional career, or personal and social life, through collaborative learning children learn how to handle team-based situations. Every child has different abilities and interests and by working in teams we are able to establish a positive interdependence. Children do not only learn from teachers but to a great extent from each other which increases their knowledge, participation, involvement, and inspires them to learn. 

In every facet of our real lives, we are required to co-work with other individuals to keep the ball rolling. Therefore, collaborative learning is a significant tool that imbibes children with social, interpersonal, and teamwork skills from an early stage. Lido helps in giving children a platform for collaborative learning and provides the perfect blend encouraging individual development as well as improving team performance.

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Wisdom Vine

Collaborative Learning Vs Solo Learning

How often do we wonder whether our kid has clearly understood the concept taught in school! Sometimes we even wonder whether our kid is a slow learner, whether he is being left out in the class. All these thoughts compel us to think that maybe the teacher is not able to pay attention to our child. Maybe it is such a large group that is why he is not able to stay focussed, maybe he feels underconfident amongst all the other bright students who are proactive and keep on answering in the class. This drives us to think that our child requires one on one coaching to understand the concepts and we seek out for such solo classes preferably. But let me ask a question right there; how do we know that this decision is correct, what if we have wrongly assessed the situation as a parent and have been unable to identify the actual problem.

  Well, let me tell you that the solution to the above situation is toilsome but achievable. Let us begin by understanding the problem. Before that, we need to remember first that every child is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to this. All thoughts expressed above are indeed thoughts of most of the anxious parents of today but the reasoning may not be true entirely. How do we prove that? Let us consider the first scenario that when our child is not able to perform well in class, we will indulge him in solo learning. Let us compare the advantages or rather the only advantage of solo learning to that of collaborative learning. We think that during solo learning, the child remains focussed and isn’t distracted at all as the teacher has 100% attention is on our child. (Although in the upcoming para, you will understand how untrue this is.)  We also think that the child will understand better. Now, here is where we are making a mistake as a parent. Puzzled, right?

  Let me elaborate this with an example straight from my class. There was a student whom I used to teach. His parents preferred solo learning so the child used to come for 1 hour-long class every alternate day. The classes went on as usual but somehow I could see that the child had a lot more potential. Something was missing, he lacked the drive to answer promptly. His overall performance improved but I wanted him to be more active and prompt in my class. All this was very difficult to convey to the parents but I told them that although their child’s performance is good but there is still scope for better. I asked them to agree for collaborative learning and try it out for the next semester that is 3 months. They agreed and to everyone’s surprise, there was a tremendous improvement in his performance in the final semester exams.

 So what caused the change, the teacher was the same, teaching method was the same, the student was the same and his understanding of concepts too was the same. The only difference was the number of students in the class. Here we need to dive deeper into the child’s psychology. When there were more students, my student knew that his teacher’s attention is getting diverted to all the other students as well. Earlier his teacher would only ask questions to him, he may or may not choose to answer, but now she may ask the student who will raise his hand first or who is more prompt.  This induced a  sense of being active in a class all time. So here the attention of the child automatically improved. The next very significant development induced by collaborative learning is the sense of healthy competition. When all the students in the class have understood the concept, they fight to be on the top or to become the teacher’s favorite. This automatically enhances their learning skills. I would rather say that they get a boost in their self-confidence as well. Although there is a very thin line here which the teacher has to maintain between the students so that no one in the class feels undermined or overpowered by the others. It is the teacher’s sole duty to provide equal opportunity to all the students in the class. Once this is done, the class will run smoothly.

  Another very important factor that solo learning can never provide but collaborative learning always enables without much effort is the power of being creative. When the child hears the answers of the other students, it urges him to think of some other solution, or in other terms, to become more creative. This again helps in the mental growth of the child. Collaborative learning will also help the child to be patient and wait for his turn to come, which solo learning has no means to provide. There are children who are always eager to answer all the questions, sometimes they don’t have the patience to even wait for the teacher to complete but when there is a small group of students, they learn to be more patient and more mannered. We all know that this will help in their mental and psychological growth in the long run.

With this, I think I have listed all the advantages of collaborative learning and how it is better than solo learning. Though I know that there must be still one question bothering us as parents, that is how is it possible for the teacher to pay individual attention to my child in a class of 50 students. I would say not to worry, I have a solution for that too. I have earlier also emphasized on this point that although collaborative learning is advantageous, the group has to be a small group of students. With a small group of 4-5 students, it becomes easier for the teacher to pay attention to all the students equally and nobody is lagging behind. We, at Lido learning, lay much emphasis on this concept that the class of students cannot be more than 6 students in total. Therefore, we try to achieve all the above-mentioned points stepwise through collaborative learning.