“Study groups within a course, team-based project/assignments, collaborative projects/assignments. Combines learning to work, solving problems, and listening to insights of others”Peters, Tisdale, & Swinton, 2019
Collaborative projects allow multiple people to gain knowledge and solve problems collectively as well as individually by engaging in dialogue, teaching one another, and co-creating new sources of knowledge (Peters & Gray, 2005). Underrepresented minority students appear to perform at much higher levels when the teaching approach emphasizes collaborative learning within their academic communities (Treisman 1992; Peters, 2005; Cabrera et al., 2002). Small-group, problem-based learning may augment intrinsic motivation by imparting knowledge and understanding via social processes, rather than rote memorization. In one study, performance and retention in chemistry programs improved significantly following the incorporation of collaborative learning strategies in the classroom (Peters, 2005). By making study group members accountable to the larger group itself, participation and performance improved, and those students who insisted in independent study were much less likely to pass the course. Peer-led cooperative learning integrated into STEM coursework appears to benefit students who enter undergraduate programs with lower SAT scores which then enhances retention (Salamone & Kling, 2017). Clearly, students experience enhanced learning and mastery when they are challenged to explain concepts and theories to their peers, which then predicts greater engagement and retention in science programs (Peters, 2005).
References and additional resources:
Cabrera, A. F., Crissman, J. L., Bernal, E. M., Nora, A., Terenzini, P. T., & Pascarella, E. T. (2002). Collaborative learning: Its impact on college students’ development and diversity. Journal of College Student Development, 43(1), 20-34.
Palmer, R. T., Maramba, D. C., & Dancy, T. E. (2011). A qualitative investigation of factors promoting the retention and persistence of students of color in STEM. The Journal of Negro Education, 491-504.
Peters, A. W. (2005). Teaching biochemistry at a minority-serving institution: an evaluation of the role of collaborative learning as a tool for science mastery. Journal of Chemical Education, 82(4), 571.
Peters, J., & Gray, A. (2005). A solitary act one cannot do alone: The self-directed, collaborative learner. International Journal of Self-directed learning, 2(2), 12-23.
Peters, A. W., Tisdale, V. A., & Swinton, D. J. (2019). High-impact educational practices that promote student achievement in STEM. Broadening Participation in STEM (Diversity in Higher Education) 22, 183-196.
Salomone, M., & Kling, T. (2017). Required peer-cooperative learning improves retention of STEM majors. International journal of STEM education, 4(1), 19.
Treisman, U. (1992). Studying students studying calculus: A look at the lives of minority mathematics students in college. The College Mathematics Journal, 23(5), 362-372.