Today’s classroom is very different from previous ones and, as the educational landscape changes, India needs to rethink teaching models and practices. For a more coherent approach to learning, there needs to be a partnership between the main stakeholders: learners, educators and parents. Collaborative learning has major advantages; not only academic but also social and psychological.

Collaborative versus competitive

Recent studies have shown that peer-to-peer learning is fun and engaging for students, especially when it comes in the form of digital game-based learning. Increased engagement means that students actively participate and get involved. Collaboration also helps to develop a social support system for learners and creates a positive atmosphere, which leads to higher productivity. In addition, the use of collaborative learning can also lead to better knowledge retention.

Many cite competitive learning as the antithesis of collaborative or cooperative learning, as it only allows one student to rise to the top. This inevitably leaves other learners discouraged or disengaged. The pressures associated with competition can also lead to mental health issues that can affect overall well-being. Additionally, when competitive learning is encouraged, getting good grades and teacher approval may seem more important than actual learning.

Make connections between students and teachers

When teachers work with students, they seem to be on the same level as the students, which leads to an improvement in the relationship. Being able to feel equal frees students and encourages them to be more receptive to feedback, which leads to greater retention.

The role of technology

Peer learning has been around for decades, and the learners huddled together on campus were a familiar sight. As the pandemic accelerates the adoption of digital technology, it is essential to incorporate this key learning style into the e-learning curriculum as well. A course developer should verify that collaborative tools and functions are available on the chosen learning management system (LMS). An ideal LMS delivers a truly connected and engaging experience for learners and teachers, enabling the same level of collaboration even in the online classroom. LMS platforms equipped with collaborative features can help create discussion forums inside and outside of classrooms. These allow learners to share information and raise questions that can be answered by other peers or instructors. Institutions can also make participation in the forum mandatory, thereby encouraging peer learning.

In short, collaborative learning and LMS platforms that enable seamless collaboration without the need for external plugins are the key to highly streamlined quality education in the 21st century.

The author is a senior solutions engineer at D2L.

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