Today’s learning environments demand a high level of participation from all the actors involved in the learning process, especially when technology mediates the dynamics of communication within the same environment. This is why concepts such as “collaborative learning” have gained more strength, and in this blog, we would like to share with you what it is about and how it can be enhanced using virtual laboratories.
What is collaborative learning?
Collaborative learning is an educational approach that promotes learning through teamwork where students at different levels of education can use a variety of activities to develop various skills and competencies.
In this learning approach, students must work as a team to solve problems, which promotes a better understanding of the concepts. Therefore, It allows the student to explore the resources or materials that contain information rather than relying exclusively on the teacher to explain or present the topic.
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Students should form small groups where members are responsible, not only for their own learning but also for helping their peers understand the concepts.
What are the benefits of Collaborative Learning?
Collaborative learning provides numerous social, psychological, academic, and assessment benefits. Some of them are listed below.
- It develops learning communities and allows students to be more involved in their learning process.
- It enables personalized sessions and increases students’ interest in their study plan.
- It improves self-esteem, reduces anxiety, and develops positive attitudes toward teachers.
- It improves critical thinking skills and classroom performance.
- It fosters communication skills.
- It creates innovative solutions by considering different points of view.
How is Collaborative Learning implemented at CloudLabs?
CloudLabs has integrative projects, a tool that allows teachers to develop collaborative learning processes in the classroom.
Using this tool, students can put into practice their acquired knowledge in the solution of a challenge in a real-life context. The process consists of forming work teams to solve a specific problem, which may involve different areas of knowledge.
Each student has a determining role in the development of the project. Therefore, this generates healthy competition with integrated challenges so that they can develop multiple skills.
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Accordingly, students are asked to solve laboratory simulations to find data and answers and then share their findings to write a report that provides a solution to the proposed challenge.
We begin by establishing a context. Here is an example: a suspension bridge is planned to be built on one of the city’s main roads, which will help reduce traffic and average travel time. The company for which the students work wants to participate in the bidding process for this contract and must evaluate the physical parameters required for the construction of the bridge.
To solve the challenge, the team must determine the required power and maximum torque to lift a given load, the maximum force that the operator can exert, and the amount of steel cable needed to manufacture the bridge tensioners. Students must perform simulations of mathematics, physics, and simple machines to solve the challenge, integrating different areas in the same activity.
Finally, they must formalize the delivery of the study through a presentation so that it can be approved before starting the construction. All of the theory put into practice in a real context!