What Collaborative Learning strategies can I use in my classroom?

Before using Collaborative Learning strategies, it is important that you do the following:

  • Create activities and assignments that require the group to work together and be dependent upon eachother. This creates motivation to succeed--if the individual does well, so does the group.
  • Make group work relevant to the course objectives. Students should also be able to apply knowledge and prior experiences.
  • Create assignments centered around student's skills.
  • Make sure group work is evenly distributed so that one person is never doing the bulk of the work.
  • Set up competitions between groups to increase involvement.
  • Consider doing group tests as demonstrated in this video below:

An introduction to team-based learning -- one form of collaborative learning -- in the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Sydney

Davis, Barbara Gross. Tools for Teaching; Jossey-Bass Publishers: San Francisco, 1993.

Smith & MacGregor. "What Is Collaborative Learning?" in Collaborative Learning: A Sourcebook for Higher Education, by Anne Goodsell, Michelle Maher, Vincent Tinto, Barbara Leigh Smith and Jean MacGregor. Published by the National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment at Pennsylvania State University. 1992
Here are some examples of Collaborative Learning Strategies that are commonly used:

Think pair share- This method has three steps. During the first step individuals think silently about a question posed by the instructor. Individuals pair up during the second step and exchange thoughts. In the third step, the pairs share their responses with other pairs, other teams, or the entire group.

Three-Step Interview - Each member of a team chooses another member to be a partner. During the first step students interview their partners. During the second step partners reverse the roles. For the final step, students' share their partner's response with the team.

Jigsaw - Groups are set up. Each group member is assigned some unique material to learn and then to teach to his group members. To help in the learning students across the class working on the same sub-section get together to decide what is important and how to teach it. After practice in these "expert" groups the original groups reform and students teach each other.

Numbered Heads Together - A team is established. Each member is given numbers of 1, 2, 3, 4, etc. Questions are asked of the group. Groups work together to answer the question so that all can verbally answer the question. Teacher calls out a number (two) and each two is asked to give the answer.

For more strategies, please follow this link to The University of Texas Teaching Resource Center http://www.gdrc.org/kmgmt/c-learn/methods.html

What is Collaborative Learning?
What are advantages and disadvantages of Collaborative Learning?
Where can I find more information?