Students speak out on Collaborative Learning
by Cathy Middlecamp
Students say the advantages are:
You can usually get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time, . . .
The advantages I see when working with others is that you can usually get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time.
One advantage of working in groups is that a problem can be solved faster and easier, ... Any time more than one person works together to solve a problem it is usually more efficient.
I also think that the time goes by faster in group work! The work load may also be less if everyone pitches in and helps.
When working in a group it allows for people to think as one and help others become "unstuck." Problem solving becomes easier when people work together.
. . . the task assigned may not seem so overwhelming if the realization has been made that there are other students there to help solve the problem.
Working with others provides the ability to complete large projects that one person could not do by themselves without a significant amount of time.
Each member of the group has something unique that he/she can contribute, . . .
One of the biggest advantages of working in a group is having other people's ideas pooled together. Each member of the group has something unique that he/she can contribute.
When it comes to solving a problem, the other group members may be able to think of things that the one individual may not have on his/her own.
People often get stuck in their own unique ways of thinking; listening to another person's ideas helps them to broaden their horizons.
Your opinions are shaped and strengthened as you hear other sides to the story and other angles of the problem. Many different solutions result instead of your own one-sided argument.
People can help solve problems or bring up new ideas that you may not be able to come up with or solve yourself.
Two minds solving a problem are definitely better than one.
The saying "three heads are better than one" is definitely true, especially in chemistry because many people find it very difficult.
A problem, for the most part, seems so much easier to solve when four heads are scrutinizing for the answer rather than just one.
I am able to learn more, and truly understand things better.
I think through working with groups I am able to learn more, and truly understand things better. I guess I am able to grasp knowledge more when there is interaction involved.
If I get the opportunity to teach someone else, I will learn the material even better if I can explain it to someone else.
I have been able to teach what I understand to the others in my group who may not understand. The best way to know that you understand a concept is to be able to teach it to others.
There have been many times throughout the semester that if I hadn't been working with a group I may have given up on the assignment.
. . .working with others helps you learn more about the class you are in. Someone might know something that you didn't, and they could teach it to you, or visa versa.
It is easier to learn things in lab if you can talk out procedures and results with other people.
When I work with myself I always question everything I do. But when I am in groups I have reassurance and I start to trust my own thoughts.
. . . you learn A LOT from others. You are exposed to different perspectives and others can explain things in a different way.
If I am clueless on something a partner may be an expert on it, . . .
If one person can get something ready and the other something else, it just saves time. In lab write-ups it is also handy because there are more views to answers and if I am clueless on something a partner may be an expert on it.
If you are not as strong in a subject, or do not fully understand the concept of a idea, your partner can help you understand and explain it to you.
Everyone has there strengths and weaknesses. By observing others, hopefully we can learn from one another.
I'll be the first to admit that when it comes to Chemistry, I don't know as much as I should and what I do know is usually in fragment form. Therefore, it helps me out a lot to work with other people who have a clue what is going on and they help me put all of my fragmented ideas into one so as to better understand the "bigger picture".
We've all had different experiences in life and come from different backgrounds which gives us all certain knowledge that not all people possess.
Many times group members motivate each other and push every member in the group to equally participate in the assigned material.
. . .other people help keep each other on track.
Students can relate to one another more easily than to a teacher, . . .
. . .students can relate to one another more easily than to a teacher at times. We are all in the same boat and sometimes it is just nice to work with someone who has something in common with you.
. . .if you have a question someone in the group can usually answer it for you. This is helpful because you don't have to bother a professor or a TA with you question, or stand in line to wait for help.. . .I don't think I need to point out how helpful it is to save time, to a busy college student.
Another plus of group work is that for some people, he or she may learn better through peer education. Some students may find it beneficial to have other students help them.
At times, it is much easier to understand a concept when it is explained by one of our peers, than to have it explained again by a TA or Professor. This is because our peers are usually at the same level of thought, and can explain things in more general terms.
Often times, while working in groups, one group member's answer or idea can trigger another group member to think of something else. In a large class the TA/Prof./teacher may not be able to answer all questions. Group members are a resource that may be able to provide an explanation if something is not understood.
. . . peer help can really help students to get back on track.
Students, at least I feel this way, sometimes feel more comfortable asking their own peers questions. They are usually on the same level as you are.
Students who don't have time to go to a teacher for help with a subject, can in these group settings ask questions of their peers.
It makes the assignment or project more fun, . . .
You can make new friends and have fun.
Overall, having others gives you someone to talk to making it more fun.
My lab group was very nice and knowledgeable. It made waking up for 7:45 am lab, Tuesday morning more enjoyable.
I know that in my lab, I have gotten to know a lot of my peers and I have developed a good relationship with them. I feel this is important and also fun.
A group creates a "comfort zone" . . .
One way in which you made the class more fun was to put people in groups with each other during lab, as well as discussion. Sometimes, we even worked together in lecture. What other class (with hundreds of kids in it) has partner work? Not many classes do this kind of teaching. I think it is very beneficial because it makes you more comfortable in your environment when you get to work with people around you. When a person is more comfortable, they are more able to concentrate, and learn at a more efficient level.
I really like working in groups, especially in LAB, . . .
I really like working in groups, especially in lab. It makes the task so much easier. If I or someone doesn't understand something, someone is there to help.
Many times chemistry labs can be very complicated and seem overwhelming when you're working alone but when you're in a group everyone can work together to accomplish the task. Working together helps to break the lab down and allows you to ask other members questions instead of having to figure out everything on your own.
In developing a relationship of sorts with the others, I found the group work flowed so smoothly, no doubt resulting from a gained mutual respect and admiration for each other. This would not be so if we each had our own stations and independent work within the lab, ...
Especially in a chemistry lab, other students' perspectives on things can add so much to someone who thinks about something in a different way.
. . . when we were working with the molecule kits; at first we were all baffled, but as we teamed up, designated jobs and puzzled the task out together, each group member came to a better understanding of molecular structures than we would have had we been left to our own devices.
I feel that lab groups or just a partner helps. They may have ideas that you did not think of right away, or maybe you happened to miss something while doing the lab.
Working together in the lab typically results in working together further outside of the lab - both on the lab itself and studying in general. This is not necessarily expected, but it is a beneficial side effect for all parties involved.
As a group comes across questions from lab they are able to bounce the questions off of each other and come up with a good number of answers to those questions.
Years from now, when you are put into this same situation at work, you won't find yourself blowing your lid like many of your inexperienced coworkers will, . . .
. . . years from now, when you are put into this same situation at work, you won't find yourself blowing your lid like many of your inexperienced coworkers will, but instead listening carefully and leading the group to cooperation and synchrony.
. . ."teamwork" helps improve social skills and provides a more "real-life" work scenario.
I believe cooperative learning is very helpful because it gives you a taste of what you will have to do in "the real world".
You can learn to express your ideas and concerns and accept others' ideas and concerns.
If you cannot get along with others and listen to their ideas, I feel that it is very hard to manage in life.
The people students have to work with in the future may not be their friends. They may not get along, but a job must still get done. Cooperative learning is only developing students' social skills and preparing them for what the future holds.
Group work also forces people to communicate and that can help people build their skills if they are not good communicators.
. . .it teaches social skills while it is teaching us about chemistry. Some of these skills include cooperation, teamwork, and communication skills. We learn to work together to achieve a common goal and how to problem solve together.
We will probably have to work closely with other people in our future careers. Be able to give input, and except information from others is good to have under your belt.
An advantage is the social experience that comes out of group work. In order for group work to be successful, you must communicate and cooperate. . .so we are also getting training for the future.
Working with others also helps to teach people to interact and deal with different kinds of people.
Learning to work cooperatively with other people is necessary in life. In almost any job situation, people will have to now how to work together to get things done.
To learn how to work in a group is very important because it teaches students how to divide up tasks and how to ask for help from a peer when one can not do the work themselves.
I also think that it is a good way to prepare you for your future. When you get a job you work with many different types of people and using cooperative learning while in school will help.
Small groups increase a student's opportunity to strengthen lifetime skills of patience, cooperation, explanation, presentation, and communication. As these are all necessary attributes in the workplace, it makes sense to develop them in college.
Tell me more about this activity:
Advantages of Collaborative Learning
Disadvantages of Collaborative Learning
Personal factors that mattered
What students would tell their instructors
More about Cathy Middlecamp