Universiteit Leiden

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PhD project

Collaborative learning in teacher education: Intended, implemented and experienced curriculum

How is collaborative learning in teacher education designed and implemented?
How do students experience those collaborative learning assignments?
What aspects of the design and the implementation lead to which perceived learning outcomes?

Duration
2012  -   2016
Contact
Wilfried Admiraal

Researchers

Project description

Collaborative learning and expected outcomes

In preparing student teachers for collaborative work, there is a strong plea for interweaving collaborative learning in the curriculum of teacher education. Nevertheless, there is not much empirical evidence whether collaborative learning in teacher education matches the expected outcomes.

In practice lecturers in teacher education argue that they experience several difficulties in implementing collaborative learning, such as freeriding, obtaining equal contribution of the students, covering the growth of students’ content knowledge and composing effective groups.

How to improve the design, implementation and (experienced) outcome of collaborative learning?

In this study, collaborative learning assignments in teacher education were evaluated at three curriculum levels: the intended, implemented and experienced curriculum.

Our research questions were:

  1. How is collaborative learning in teacher education designed and implemented,
  2. how do students experience those collaborative learning assignments, and
  3. what aspects of the design and the implementation lead to which perceived learning benefits?

In order to answer these questions we need to determine the alignment between, on one side, the way collaborative learning assignments in teacher training are designed (intended), implemented and perceived (experienced) and, on the other side, whether the design components, like learning objectives, interaction, task type, etc., are aligned. A lack of alignment between these three curriculum levels and between the design components may lead to frustration of teachers and students and a decrease of the use of collaborative learning in teacher training.

Method

Seven courses with collaborative learning assignments in six teacher training colleges in the Netherlands were evaluated at three different curriculum levels: the intended, implemented and experienced curriculum. Data include surveys completed by 379 students and 23 lecturers, semi-structured interviews with 23 students and 20 teachers, learning journals completed by 15 teachers and all relevant course documents.

Results

Preliminary analyses indicate that, in general, students’ perceptions of the learning benefits of collaborative learning decreased after working on a collaborative learning assignment, although there were differences between the seven colleges. These perceived learning outcomes seem also to be related to the setup of the courses.

Follow up

This study aims to support lecturers in teacher training colleges with the design and implementation of collaborative learning. The results of this study provide an indication of how design components like learning goals, desirable interaction, task type, prestructuring collaboration, group constellation, facilities, assessment and supervision, can be developed and implemented to optimise learning benefits of collaborative learning. The examples of the seven assignments analysed in this study illustrate how collaborative learning is used in teacher training colleges and the effect of the implementation of various course designs on the perception of learning benefits of students. All participating teacher education institutions have been sent a report of the specific results and recommendations for their collaborative learning assignments.

Another aim of this research is to contribute to scientific knowledge regarding collaborative learning in Teacher Education and Higher Education.

Partners

  • The Hague University of Applied Sciences: department Teacher Education and Research Group of Sustainable Talent Development
  • Ludwig Maximilans Universität Munich

April until September 2013: Feedback documents advising participating Teacher Education programmes on the design and implementation of their collaborative learning course.

June 2013: Presentation “Collaborative learning in Teacher Education: Intended, implemented and experienced curriculum” during the symposium “Collaborative work and collaborative learning of (future) teachers” At the ORD (Onderwijs Research Dagen, Annual Educational Research Meeting) in Brussels.

November 2013: Presentation paper “Collaborative learning: intended, implemented and experienced curriculum” at the EAPRIL conference in Bienne, Switserland.

November 2013: Presentation paper “Collaborative learning: converting beliefs into practices” at the symposium “Demands of 21st century for Teacher Education and Teacher Educators” at the EAPRIL conference in Zurich, Switserland.

March 2013: Manuscript “Lecturer’s beliefs of collaborative learning in higher education” accepted for publication in Research Papers in Education.

March 2014: Research presentation “Collaborative learning in Teacher Education: Intended, implemented and experienced curriculum” at the VELON conference (annual conference for teacher educators).

June 2016: Dissertation

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