“Collaborative learning is when you can achieve something with some help from your group and then work independently with what you’ve learnt.” (Gratton, 2019, p. 258)
As we are nearing the end of the MALAT program and beginning to work towards our Applied Research Project (ARP), I am filled with excitement to explore and curiosity to think about how I might disseminate my project once it is completed.
A significant body of research has documented many benefits for learners who participate in group/ teamwork. For example, learners working in groups can achieve academic learning outcomes and gain deeper comprehensive educational experiences than learners working individually (Smith, 1996; Roseth et al., 2008; Wilson et al., 2018; Tran & Piechnik, 2021). As such, group work is part of many of our curriculum at my institution. However, through observation, there is a significant gap in offering learners the training required to work in a group. According to a survey conducted by Wilson et al. (2018), 93% of learners believe that teamwork skills are essential for their future careers. However, only 60% believe that they are well equipped.
Thus, I envision my ARP to be grounded in diverse fields of literature such as group work dynamics, inclusivity, and accessibility to lay down the foundations of understanding. Additionally, collaborating with instructional/curriculum experts in my institution to curate a prerequisite course, expressly implementing teamwork pedagogy to ensure all learners get the required learning outcomes. This course would provide learners with a safe space to work as team members and foster their communication and collaborative skills. Moreover, it gives learners an equal chance to excel in teamwork as they are at different life stages and work experiences. Lastly, for my selfish reasons, I would like to lift the burden of needing to play referee or mediator for myself and fellow educators when assigning a team/group project.
Therefore, my goal and vision for this prerequisite teamwork course are to be part of all programs requiring team/group work at my institution.
Gratton, R. (2019). Collaboration in students’ learning: The student experience. Support for Learning, 34(3), 254–276. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9604.12261
Roseth, C. J., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2008). Promoting early adolescents’ achievement and peer relationships: The effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic goal structures. Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 223–246. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.134.2.223
Smith, K. A. (1996). Cooperative learning: Making “groupwork” work. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 1996(67), 71–82. https://doi.org/10.1002/tl.37219966709
Tran, V., & Piechnik, D. (2021). Open Collaborative Learning: A Design Thinking Challenge. https://malat-webspace.royalroads.ca/rru0160/open-collaborative-learning-a-design-thinking-challenge/
Wilson, L., Ho, S., & Brookes, R. H. (2018). Student perceptions of teamwork within assessment tasks in undergraduate science degrees. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 43(5), 786–799. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2017.1409334