Lesson Three: Group Collaboration


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Redstar.gif Lesson Three: Group Collaboration


Once your students are comfortable with paired collaboration, you can consider having them work on projects in groups of more than two students. There are a multitude of ways to implement collaborative learning in the classroom. This lesson will only touch upon some of them. When you go through the stages of this lesson, keep in mind the benefits of interactive and collaborative learning that were presented on the home page, as follows:

  • Students are more inclined to be interested and active in the learning process.
  • Students can develop a sense of community among peers.
  • Students are given an opportunity to construct their own knowledge base.
  • Students can develop multiple learning capabilities better.

With the knowledge and skills you have obtained from the previous two lessons, and the information presented in this lesson, you will be able to design collaborative learning environments. Keep in mind that group collaboration works well for authentic assessment activities that provide students with real-life problems.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson you will ...

  • Understand how collaborative learning can improve student learning in your classroom.
  • Be able to design a lesson which utilizes utilized collaborative learning activities.

Redarrow2.gif Reading


Read Erickson Assignments for Collaborative Work.

In this section from Chapter 9 of Erickson, et al, (2006) they present a sampling of collaborative learning activities that can be used in the classroom.

Read Gokhale Collaborative learning enhances critical thinking.

In this study, Gokhale (1995) examined how collaborative learning enhances critical thinking.

Redarrow2.gif Case Studies -- Videos and Discussion

The Annenberg Learning Classroom Theory into Practice series has a few videos which present excellent examples of implementing collaborative learning in the classroom for different subjects.

Go to the following web site: Session 7. Learning From Others: Learning in a Social Context. Scroll down to the session and watch the video. This video presents the idea that learning is a social activity at any age level and therefore collaborative learning in the classroom enhances the learning experience for the students.


Go to the following web site: Session 3. Group Test. Scroll down to the session and watch the video. This video shows us an example of students collaborating on taking a test on mathematical modeling and functions. This approach to testing moves away from the traditional testing format and the collaborative activity encourages students to participate.

Go to the following web site: Workshop 8. Mathematical Modeling. Scroll down to the session and watch the video. This video demonstrates students working collaboratively on building physical models, collecting data and generating mathematical models. This is also very representative of constructive learning and authentic assessment.

Go to the following web site: Workshop 4. North Africa/Southwest Asia. Scroll down to the session and watch the video. This video shows students exploring problems and active in hands-on collaborative activities.

Discussion Question: Do you think it's feasible to utilize collaborative learning in your classes? If yes, how? If not, why?

Redarrow2.gif Instructional Design -- Assignment and Discussion

Design a lesson in your subject matter that implements a collaborative learning activity. Include the following elements in your design:

  • Objective: Describe the purpose of the lesson.
  • Goals: Define what the students will understand after this lesson.
  • Activities: Describe what the teacher will do and what the students will do.
  • Outcomes: Define what learning outcomes the student will produce to demonstrate learning.
  • Assessment: Describe how you will assess student learning outcomes.

Discussion: Post your lesson, respond to the posting of two other students, and respond to the students who respond to your post.

Supplemental Reading

Gagne, R.M., Wager, W.W., Golas, K.C. and Keller, J.M. (2005) Principles of instructional design, 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.

Chapter 14 in Gagne, et al, they discuss different kinds of group learning environments.

Interactive and Collaborative Learning Environments Home Page

Lesson One: Interactive Learn and Do

Lesson Two: Paired Collaboration

Resources and References