Universiteit Leiden

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Dissertation

Collaborative learning in higher education: design, implementation and evaluation of group learning activities

The aim of this study was to provide insight into how teachers in higher education can be supported in the design, implementation and evaluation of group assignments by developing a theoretical and evidence-based framework for the design of group assignments.

Author
Miranda de Hei MSc
Date
06 June 2016
Links
Fulltext in Leiden University Repository

Group learning activities are frequentlyimplemented in higher education. The assumption in this dissertation is that this form of collaborative learning can lead to studens’ learning outcomes if these group assignments: (1) are properly designed and implemented, (2) taking into account the collaborative premise (the need for students to work together, in other words: the job cannot be performed just as well individually), and (3) are grounded in recent scientific research findings about effective collaborative learning.

Possible learning outcomes of cooperative learning include:

  • Knowledge acquisition
  • motivation and engagement
  • higher-order thinking skills
  • metacognitive skills
  • social and collaborative skills
  • preparation for students’ future profession.

However, not all teachers in higher education design and implement group assignments in an effective manner, and planned outcomes are not always achieved.

The aim of this study was to provide insight into how teachers in higher education can be supported in the design, implementation and evaluation of group assignments by developing a theoretical and evidence-based framework for the design of group assignments.

The developed framework consists of the following components: interaction, learning objectives, assessment, task characteristics, structured cooperation, counseling, group composition and facilities. The relationship between these components is crucial for the design of effective group assignments. The results of student evaluations indicate that the components of the frame contribute to the learning results of group assignments. Task characteristics, counseling and group composition are evaluated as the key components that contribute to the learning outcomes, mediated by verbal interaction and involvement.

 

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