What's New in Research on Teaching and Learning: Why Collaborative Learning Works and How to Make it Happen

Robin Paige, Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence

Is group work an effective means to teach students disciplinary content and skills or does it simply teach social skills such as cooperation and teamwork? While faculty are often uncertain whether disciplinary learning takes place in groups, the research shows that carefully planned and facilitated student interaction promotes learning. In this talk, I will present research on how and why carefully organized student interaction through cooperative and collaborative learning techniques enable students to engage in knowledge production, develop complex and critical thinking, and build fluency with the course material. In addition, because the effectiveness of these learning strategies largely depends on the quality of student interaction, I will discuss strategies for planning, managing, and assessing collaborative learning in all fields and disciplines.

About the "What's New in Research on Teaching and Learning" Series:
Each semester, the CTE hosts at least one formal research presentation on a specific question addressed within the scholarship of teaching and learning. The "What's New in Research on Teaching and Learning" talks take place over lunch (provided by the CTE) and are open to all faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students.