Collaborative Learning Alex McIntyre , School of Applied Sciences , Fellow
Teachers learn not to assume too much : for instance , that our teaching is great , that the students understand , or that we share their expectations . Trial , error , and student feedback make it clear that learning is dynamic , and that we can miss opportunities to create shared expectations and success .
Collaborative learning is a strategy intended to respond to this challenge by creating opportunities to engage , communicate and develop competence . An opportunity cannot be compulsory , so I invite students to collaborate in a formative learning dialogue across a series of critical writing , and I promise that we will work to develop their academic writing skills . Over the module , students engage in wider reading and critical thinking , gaining a depth of topic knowledge to support consolidation and exam performance .
Collaborative learning employs personalised feedback to make explicit the academic expectations and how to achieve them . The dynamic also supports tutor development , as we evolve a shared narrative of how feedback is interpreted and understood . Individual progression across the assignments is rewarding for both student and teacher , while consideration of the module performance provides valuable feedback about topics that fail to engage students , or that don ’ t transmit the required level of knowledge .
The goal is for a shared narrative that supports academic development and skill acquisition for students and tutors . However , collaborative learning is only supportive of students who engage , and this prompts important consideration about whether we ensure an equivalent educational experience for all , or create a learning environment that enables excellence for those who are capable and wish to succeed .