We are all familiar with the phrase “Two heads are better than one.” Yet for years this is a concept that society has largely ignored when it comes to the way we work and learn. Up until recently, it was believed that learning and working were tasks best performed in a private, individual setting. Collaborative learning was something that occurred in limited amounts, such as in group projects or training seminars held sparsely throughout the year.
However, today many educators and businesses are beginning to break away from this kind of thinking. More and more research is revealing that there is marvelous value in collaborative learning. Collaborative learning helps support higher level thinking, increases retention, improves relationships, and strengthens leadership skills. Such evidence has given rise to a whole new type of learning space, full of life, laughter, and activity.
But for those who are unfamiliar, questions may arise around this new way of working and learning, such as what is collaborative learning and how does one create a collaborative learning space? Below, we’ve provided some insight that we hope you may find useful.
Today more and more schools are shifting away from teacher-centered learning and transitioning towards classrooms that combine self-directed and collaborative learning styles. Research shows that collaborative learning environments can help students develop important skills they need to succeed in the real world.
By fostering skills that involve higher-order thinking, communication, and leadership, collaborative learning environments help prepare students for succeeding in roles that they will take on later in life.
Creating a learning environment that’s truly collaborative, however, is no easy task, as any educator will tell you. It requires more than just adding in a couple of group projects here and there.
Schools must design their classrooms in a way that supports collaborative learning by intentionally creating spaces where students can become heavily engaged in hands-on projects, converse easily with one another, and stay focused. Below, we’ve provided some tips for creating a collaborative classroom.