I Rather Collaboratively Learn Alone

I never thought one could stir up so many questions about the term “collaborative learning” but there are people that have written books on the different possible definitions for the term and this alone has sparked my interest. Is learning collaborative in the sense that you do it in a group or that you don’t do it alone (with a book or some source of information)? There is collaborative learning in a group’s acquisition of an answer to a problem, but this same process can be executed between an individual and course material. For example, a group can collaborate and put together what they know in order to answer a question to the best of their ability, but a book can also guide you and cause you to ask the same question and even help you answer it. I see an argument for either one being better, but I would prefer the second method. I feel like if a group of students get together with the same notes from the same lecture then there will inevitably be consensus in the group and creativity will be stifled. If you allow a student to answer the same question on his or her own accord, you may get the same answer but it will be answered in a different way; each answer will be unique. I find group projects to be easier because six students work together to produce the work of one, requiring only a sixth of the effort from each individual. When you complete a project on your own, with out given resources, then you will come up with a project and answer that’s completely unique to the way you think and research information. Everyone can still have the same answer this way and be correct but it requires the student to think critically and not ignore the other 5/6 of the critical thinking process. I believe a book can still drive you to ask questions and guide you to the correct answers where a group member may be completely wrong and steer the learning process in a likewise direction (even with the best of intentions).

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