COOPERATIVE LEARNING: A Closer Look

Group or team work were the first things that came my mind when I encountered the term collaborative/cooperative learning. I must admit that this was a part of learning. I still remember those moments when I was in college wherein most activities needed to be done was in group. And to say, I was not really comfortable that time because of many reasons.

In this article, I will enumerate some of the good and bad things about this kind of learning.
The bad things about it:

1.Not all will contribute to the project. Hard working students do all of the work and the lazy students do nothing and still receive the same grade. This is not fair to those who worked hard, or for those who sat in the corner and talked the entire time. Not everyone in the group will participate. Some people rely on others to do the work for them. These people usually receive the same grade, which is not fair to the people in the group who did all of the work. Often times group members will not equally contribute to a task in which the whole group receives one grade. So if a member does not fully participate they may be given a grade that they do not deserve.

2. Personalities Clash. Students lacking social skills would not know how to work in groups and this could result in a task or social conflicts. You spend more time over coming your differences than actually doing the work. When you put a group of people that have never worked together. Personalities might lead to arguments, this would waste time and lead to an unproductive group.

And more importantly, the good effects are:

1. Allows students to tutor each other on the information being studied. Two minds are better in solving a problem than one, in a group many ideas will be gathered and discussed. Thus, they can be inspired during group processes and they can reach a solution easier, faster and more efficient. Usually teamwork can save time, as it gives the ability to get more work done in less time and the workload to be split. It is also often, the result of the group effort, to lead to multiple solutions instead of one.

2. Encourages students to share experiences and learn from others. In collaborative learning, students are obliged to actively participate in the learning process. They are highly involved in the learning process. They have to think while working with a group, and during the whole group process to accomplish and complete a given task, they have to truly understand things.Working within a group each member of the group has the opportunity to share thoughts, to discuss different perspectives, to be inspired during group processes, to even teach to the rest what others might not understand. Therefore, the result will lead the students to learn and understand more.

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