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Collaborative learning

A process through which learners at various performance levels work together in small groups toward a common goal. It is a learner-centred approach derived from social learning theories as well as the socio-constructivist perspective on learning. Collaborative learning is a relationship among learners that fosters positive interdependence, individual accountability, and interpersonal skills. For collaborative learning to be effective, teaching must be viewed as a process of developing and enhancing students’ ability to learn. The instructor’s role is not to transmit information, but to serve as a facilitator for learning. This involves creating and managing meaningful learning experiences and stimulating learners’ thinking through real-world problems. Yet, the task must be clearly defined and be guided by specific objectives. Sometimes cooperative and collaborative learning are used interchangeably but cooperative work usually involves dividing work among the team members, whilst collaborative work means all the team members tackle the problems together in a coordinated effort. (Adapted from: Seel 2012). ‘Collaboration’ is frequently included among key competences/competencies and 21st century skills.

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