Collaborative mode of learning is an education strategy that organizes students activities into social and academic experiences. In collaborative learning, students work in groups to achieve common goals, unlike in individual learning where they compete among themselves. This cooperation adds to one anothers skills and ideas. The tutor's role also changes from being the one giving information to just facilitating students activities. Students enjoy a high degree of satisfaction in collaborative learning (Dascalu et al., 2015). A groups success means success to every member of the group. Students in cooperative learning settings compared to those in the individual mode of learning are attached to more advantages like achieving higher performance, reasoning better, gaining higher self-esteem and learning tasks faster.
The major aim of the learning process is an achievement, which is measured in terms of grading. To accomplish this, teachers use different approaches including lecture mode, discussion groups, and demonstrations. The most used method is the lecture mode, but over time it has been faced with a lot of criticism, which claims that, it does not help in the deep understanding of curriculum by the students (Melvin et al., 2013). This has led to the introduction of diverse learning methods to enhance comprehension of the class material. This underlying issue necessitated the use of the collaborative learning method, which proves that teamwork can lead to students achieving better grades because it facilitates a collection of resources from each individual.
This study is an effort to show teachers the importance of collaborative learning methods and to help them develop a positive attitude towards it. A few studies have been carried out to ascertain the influence of collaborative learning on academic achievement. For instance, a study was conducted to examine the effect of collaborative learning on the academic achievement of
secondary school students in mathematics. There was a significant difference between students who engaged themselves in collaborative learning and those of lecture mode. The ones of collaborative method scored higher. One significant aspect the study focuses on was the impact of technology in aiding the effectiveness of collaborative learning as a strategic learning method (Anaya, Luque, & Peinado, 2016).
There are many types of collaborative learning including the jigsaw technique, assignments that involve group problem-solving and decision making, laboratory or experiment assignments and peer review work. The jigsaw technique is where the student assumes the role of a teacher and is in charge of teaching the topic to the rest of the group. At this point, the student learns about a topic and fully understands it so that they are in a position to make the rest understand. In problem-solving assignments, the students are involved in research whereby they all meet to present their findings and conclusions. Most of the science students are the ones involved in laboratory and experiments assignments. The students who work in groups during the experiments are more keen and precise, are able to follow instructions and make accurate observations than individuals (Melvin et al., 2013).
The use of technology is significant in aiding the effectiveness of different types of collaborative learning methods. For instance, in assignments that involve decision-making or problem-solving, students can use technology to disseminate their information to the rest of the groups in the class in a visually appealing manner (Anaya, Luque, & Peinado, 2016). By using projectors, students display well-typed information in a logical and well-arranged manner aiding their presentation of their research. As such, the presentation and ensuing discussion surround different information that was clearly shared by different students to the whole class.
In collaborative learning, groups are utilized to enhance the sharing of intellectual resources. However, effective groups ought to have positive interdependence whereby each member has a task assigned to them and must be aware they are responsible for it and must fully participate in the activities. Face to face promote interaction is also essential because students explain to one another about the understanding of a certain concept. In cooperative learning, there is individual and group accountability whereby each student is responsible for his or her learning and work assigned. Members also gain social skills like effective communication, interpersonal relations, and leadership skills (Lee et al., 2014).
According to a research conducted on collaborative learning, findings indicated an improvement in terms of student academic performance from the lecture mode method. The students were comfortable discussing topics on their own other than a teacher covering the topics. The motivation level of students was shown to have increased significantly since each group is determined to be better than the rest after conducting collaborative learning. It also improves the self-confidence of the individual groups. Therefore, the research portrayed the fact that collaborative learning methods are equally effective for all ability levels ((Dascalu et al., 2015).
Collaborative learning process comes with a number of challenges. This method keeps on changing with time and therefore cannot be used in many situations. The teachers too can get lazy and lose directions of their duties in class. This method is time-consuming as it requires the students have ample time to do their research, gather the information and present it to the rest of the class compared to when a teacher just lectures within a few minutes (Melvin et al., 2013). There might also be bright students who would feel they are being dragged behind by the slower students while trying to make them understand. These students might feel superior and might turn hostile or would also lower the self-esteem of other students. The teachers, therefore, have to deal with such resistance in order to balance both groups in class.
Research on collaborative learning has shown positive results in the long run (Zheng, Niiya & Warschauer, 2015). It requires students to fully engage in-group activities that increase the learning and also add other life skills. Students who are full participants in the groups attain better grades at the end of the semester. Collaborative learning has also led to increasing students attendance since they enjoy the activity of group discussions, timely on tasks allocated to them, enjoyment of school life, self-motivation and independence.
Collaborative learning is effective for all groups, be it from different ethnic groups, races, families or even social classes. Individuals perceptions of one another are enhanced when the members are carrying out a task together. Physical barriers like the mono-eyed are broken down allowing for positivity and friendships to occur. Furthermore, the use of technology makes the collaborative learning process even more effective by enhancing the interaction of different thoughts and ideas in the classroom. Indeed, collaborative learning results in the transfer of the learning process increased generation of new ideas and skills and increased level of reasoning. The collaborative learning method is also important after school while dealing with life matters. This is evident as a characteristic of inventive and innovative businesses.
Anaya, A. R., Luque, M., & Peinado, M. (2016). A visual recommender tool in a collaborative learning experience. Expert Systems with Applications, 45, 248-259.Dascalu, M. I., Bodea, C. N., Moldoveanu, A., Mohora, A., Lytras, M., & de Pablos, P. O. (2015). A recommender agent based on learning styles for better virtual collaborative learning experiences. Computers in Human Behavior, 45, 243-253.Lee, K., Tsai, P. S., Chai, C. S., & Koh, J. H. L. (2014). Students' perceptions of selfdirected learning and collaborative learning with and without technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(5), 425-437.Melvin Ballera, Ismail Ateya Lukandu, & Abdalla Radwan. (January 01, 2013). COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING USING PUBLIC SOCIAL NETWORK MEDIA: ANALYZING STUDENT INTERACTION AND ITS IMPACT TO LEARNING PROCESS. International Journal of Digital Information and Wireless Communications, 3 (1), 25-42.Zheng, B., Niiya, M., & Warschauer, M. (2015). Wikis and collaborative learning in higher education. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 24(3), 357-374.
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