According to a great contributor for this new learning method, Jeanne Marcum Gerlach, “Collaborative Learning is based on the idea that learning is a naturally social act in which the participants talk among themselves. It is through the talk that learning occurs”. In collaborative learning, groups of students or work teams learn by talking, presenting and defending ideas, making questions and exchange each other beliefs. This way, they’re actively engaged and challenged in a social, emotional and creative level.
With this learning process, people have to listen to different thoughts and perspectives, but also is required of them to promote and defend their own ideas. Collaborative learning is an instruction method in which everyone in the work team is responsible for one another’s learning as well as their own. This method is designed to take advantage of the combined talents of a group and to have a personalized learning environment.
The Benefits of Collaborative Learning
The development of soft skills, such as problem-solving and mental flexibility, is very important for the long-term career prospects. Collaborative learning develops certain soft skills important to the workplace: the ability to hear and learn from different perspectives and cultures, how to communicate with other people and the confidence for one to express oneself.This learning method also builds trust between people. In an office environment, trust and know how to work inside a team are very important elements. Besides, collaborative learning increases inclusivity, health and wellness in a collaborative workplace.These are the main benefits of collaborative learning, but there is so much more this learning method can do in learning or work environments, such as:
- Enhances the motivation to learn and update oneself knowledge;
- Promotes a positive attitude towards new projects;
- Teams stay on task more and are less disruptive;
- Creates a stronger social support system.
Collaborative learning is growing increasingly as a new learning method not only in classrooms but also in the workplace, through interactive technologies and visual tools. Visual communication can be an important asset in collaborative learning sessions. These learning groups can organize their ideas and perspectives with the help of whiteboards, notice boards, mobile boards and magnetic resources.The reason why collaborative learning is growing so much is that it builds more positive heterogeneous relationships and encourages diversity. Furthermore, it encourages peoples to share their ideas, by having a more positive atmosphere, reducing anxiety and peer pressure, and being more productive in a team.