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Week Five Discussion






Discussion Around Projects


Each team will report on what happened in their project. What worked, what didn't.


Team One Wrap-Up


Team Two Wrap-Up


Team Three Wrap-Up


Discussion (Time Permitting)

How representative is the Project & Assignments vs. Collaborative Learning in Practice?

  • Differences?
  • Similarities?


“It is worth considering collaboration as an instructional strategy when teaching higher-order skills such as synthesis, analysis and evaluation. For example, collaborative learning is well suited for teaching supervisory skills to first-line managers. Collaborative learning encourages team members to verbally justify or discuss how they are solving problems, forcing them to articulate implicit information and knowledge.”

Margaret O’Driscoll


Possible Challenges in Using Collaborative Learning Strategies (Time Permitting)


  • Longer learning time?
  • Longer development time?
  • Self-direction, motivation?
  • Time to teach team skills


Large vs. Small Groups/Teams


Consider our different "team size"

  • Initial classes: individuals / class
  • Projects: team of 4
  • Projects: team of 2


What group composition makes sense in what cases?

  • Large Groups
    • Advantages
      • More ideas generated
      • Greater diversity of ideas
      • Greater diversity of skills
      • More people to complete the job
      • More opportunity for members to "connect" with others
    • Disadvantages
      • Greater opportunity for conflict among members
      • More time required in decision-making
      • More opportunities for anonymity
      • Greater demands on the leader
      • More difficulty achieving consensus
  • Small Groups
    • Advantages
      • More opportunity for each person to contribute
      • More equal participation likely
      • Less time required in decision-making
      • Easier to meet due to fewer schedule considerations
    • Disadvantages
      • Fewer skills available
      • Greater time and performance demands on each person
      • Retention of group members is important based on the demands of the project


Additional resources for addressing these and other challenges:


Answers to Tough Questions

Deliberations, an international website on issues of learning and teaching for the higher education community, offers insights contributed by their readers. An excellent resource to visit when you feel overwhelmed by the number of issues to consider surrounding the implementation of collaborative learning.

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