This is a diary of my involvement in a project on collaborative learning in the psychology department at the University of South Africa. Most recent posts below and links to previous posts on the left.
Antje (http://antjem.blogspot.com/) suggested some great additions to my list of obstacles to collaborative learning. I'm re-posting her suggestions here as they may go unnoticed in the "comments" link below my list. She says: "I can see more obstacles to collaborative learning in a student environment:
Knowledge level of participants (if they come from different educational backgrounds and models they may have different experiences with education, different subject knowledge and different attitudes towards learning)
Motivation (collaborative learning needs a great deal of personal motivation, a quality not very much present in a goal-oriented (degree hunting), immediate-satisfaction-seeking (fast-food ...) society which we are more and more becoming. Motivation pre-supposes the need or urge to WANT to know and to WANT to make an effort ... found, unfortunately, in a small percentage of humans)
Personal characteristics (inrovert / extrovert / confidence levels). many students may want to contribute but are afraid of making mistakes or afraid of being patronised. others are unsure how exactly to contribute (collaborative learning does not instruct on how to use collaborative learning skills and can easily end up being an unstructured, anxiety-provoking lassez faire situation)
Integration (integration of new and traditional learning approaches should be the aim rather than collaborative learning 'in place of' traditional teaching style models (and I guess Martin sees it that like I do). A combination will allow the student to weigh both aspects and become over time more accustomed to the s(often more frightening) approach of collaborative learning at his / her own speed."
I'll be away until 17 July 2003 doing the conference thing and visiting colleagues (and maybe doing a bit of holidaying in-between). Please don't ask about the "but not France" part...
posted by Martin on Friday, June 20, 2003