Published Date: 06/02/2014
By Jennifer Montalvo
Strong collaboration in a work environment is crucial to the success of any company. However, how much thought is given to learning collaboratively? When professionals are paired together in small groups, collaborative learning encourages the achievement of professional goals. According to Virginia Tech’s Journal of Technology Education (vol.7 no.1), collaborative learning enhances critical thinking. This concept is not something new; rather a notion measured and proven over many years.
The act of exchanging ideas within small groups not only increases interest, but promotes critical thinking. The members of these small groups are allowed the opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning and strengthen their ability to actively and skillfully conceptualize information. We currently live in the world of the continuous “busy.” Being in a group such as this allows the learner to slow down, share, listen and evaluate themselves and others.
Participants in collaborative learning environments experienced the following benefits:
- Improved understanding of issues presented
- Shared knowledge and experience
- Receiving and giving of helpful feedback
- Higher level thinking ability
- Openness to new perspectives
The time spent participating in collaborative learning opportunities also affected the social and emotional well-being of participants in the following ways:
- Problem solving felt easier, and almost enjoyable, in a relaxed, trusting environment
- Greater responsibility – not just for self but for the group as well
- New relationships built and growth of professional network
Consider enhancing your critical thinking skills within the workplace by incorporating collaborative learning amongst peers.