Collaborative learning positively affects student-student relationships, teamwork and connectedness

Scott Clarke

Abstract


Recently, biomedicine units at Monash University introduced large, collaborative learning style workshops. To evaluate these practices, a survey of 5-point Likert-style questions was distributed to students in three undergraduate units (n = 613, response rate ~55%).

Respondents reported a strong sense of working together in their groups (mean = 4.38) and that discussion with their teams led to a better understanding of the content (mean = 4.47). They also felt more confident in reaching their learning goals compared to units without collaborative learning (mean = 4.04). Students reported that working in groups kept them focused and on task (mean = 4.14) and that collaborative work helped improve their teamwork skills (mean = 4.10).

More broadly, students reported that workshops helped them feel more connected to others in their course (mean =3.92). This extended to student-staff relationships; students felt there was a closer relationship between staff and students (mean = 3.88) with better student-staff communication (mean = 4.05) in units with workshops compared to units without.

Though the impact on learning outcomes in this context is yet to be elucidated, this survey provides evidence that collaborative learning pedagogies have varied positive effects on student feelings of connectedness, teamwork and confidence.

Keywords


Collaborative learning, workshops, students

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