What Is Collaborative Learning
Collaborative learning is an educational approach to teaching and learning that involves groups of students working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product. Successful collaborative learning has the potential to bring out the unique strengths of each individual student while strengthening the work of the group through teamwork, cooperation and combined effort and resources.
How Collaborative Learning Works at UoPeople
University of the People offers opportunities for students to work collaboratively with one another. Each class at UoPeople has a class forum in which students can raise issues and questions relating to course material. Instructors monitor the class forum, making this an excellent place to voice concerns, share insights, develop relationships with instructors and peers, and get help with any challenges one is facing with the course material.
Online student forums and peer review groups are one of the most valuable aspects of the educational experience at University of the People. Thanks to our strong online community, students make connections from all around the world. These opportunities for peer to peer and collaborative learning allow us to build a vibrant, international network and to share information, wisdom, and support.
Advantages of collaborative learning
Learning how to work effectively in a group strengthens important skills like communication and compromise. Students learn how to defend their ideas, but just as often they may have to learn to compromise on those ideas. These skills are vitally important in most work environments today, where at least some of the work being done will be in a collaborative group setting.
Collaborative learning can also be helpful in its ability to expose students to diversity. The student body at University of the People is diverse in many ways and has students from all over the world. Through working collaboratively students may come to better understand one another culturally, personally, and as thinkers.In group settings, our ideas are often challenged, and this is precisely when they grow. By sharing thoughts, struggles, concerns, ideas, criticisms and support, students can push their work further than they may have been able to do alone.
What is peer to peer learning?
Peer to peer learning is an educational practice in which students interact with one another to attain educational goals. Alongside guidance from instructors, peer to peer learning allows students to work through new concepts and material with other individuals engaged in the same work and provides them with opportunities to teach and be taught by one another, expanding their perspectives and fostering meaningful connections.
How peer to peer learning works at UoPeople
Peer to peer learning is an important aspect of University of the People’s unique educational model. All students participate in a system of peer assessments for their discussion assignments. These peer assessments are not only an important element of our educational philosophy, but also contribute to students’ final grades alongside quizzes, tests, and the instructor-graded online learning journal.
Within Moodle, our online learning platform, students must post responses to reading assignments within a class discussion forum. The student’s work is then reviewed carefully by three other students in the class who each give the work a grade. While this is happening, the student being reviewed will also be expected to read, review and grade the discussion assignments of three of his or her peers.
This valuable experience gives students insight into the ideas and perspectives of their classmates and sharpens their critical thinking skills. This is a key element of how learning and community are emphasized at UoPeople.
Students are given guidelines to help them with their Peer Assessments, instructing them on how to best give constructive, helpful feedback to their fellow students.
Advantages of Peer to Peer Learning
The system of Peer Assessments is designed to give students skills that will prove helpful and necessary throughout their educational and professional careers. The first of these is the fostering of community. Peer to peer learning allows students who may be located very far from one another to build a global network. This also prepares students for the unique experience of working in a global community – a skill necessary for today’s professional culture.
Teamwork and cooperation are developed through the system of Peer Assessments. These skills will also be of great importance in many professional settings. In most workplaces, it is not only the “boss” who gives comments, feedback, suggestions, and constructive criticisms but one’s peers as well.
Learning how to listen respectfully and respond constructively to such feedback, as well as learning to craft and respectfully express such feedback to one’s peers, is an important skill in today’s workplaces.