Type: Analysis
Pages: 8 | Words: 2208
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It had been a long time that students have been carrying out learning activities individually till recently when educators realized the value of collaborative learning. It has been identified that learning, when isolated, is not as effective as when they are in a group. Indeed, learners ought to overcome isolation, if they want to make considerable achievements. Collaborative learning involves activities, such as group presentations, collaborative papers, peer review workshops, forming discussion groups, and collaborative research assignments, among others. These are crucial components of education, as they promote active learning, giving individual learners an ample opportunity to deeply engage with their learning activities. Collaborative and argumentation learning, thus, involves the use of the collaborative method to improve the learners’ argumentation skills. This document focuses on various advantages connected with collaborative learning by giving succinct distinctions between collaborative and isolated learning. It also explicitly highlights various efforts that can be made to improve the effectiveness of collaborative learning.

Importance of Collaborative Learning

There are many advantages that are associated with collaborative learning. As earlier mentioned, it was after the notion that isolated learning was not producing the expected results that educators decided to integrate collaborative learning in education. This has shown considerate improvements since its introduction as testified by both learners and the educators (Iqbal, Kousar, & Rahman, 2011). One of the main advantages of this method is the fact that it helps learners perceive public learning as public and communal act rather than an isolated private one. Usually, most students will write papers that only make sense to them, but others cannot perceive what students intend to mean. It is at this particular point that peer reviewers come in handy; they help students understand that they are not writing for themselves, but for other people. They should, therefore, write clearly, precisely and accurately to enable the other people coming into contact with their work to understand what they intend to communicate.

Consequently, collaboration helps learners to develop a sense to the audience too. Often, students mainly write to please their instructors (Dartmouth, 2012). They, however, do not understand expectations of  instructors, and sometimes they end up writing irrelevant materials that are sometimes deemed invalid by instructors. However, with the perception that their peers will read their work, students can get a concrete understanding of why they are writing and to whom they are writing. Another advantage of collaborative learning is that students can easily learn conventions of educational discourse. This means that they can understand where their readers stumble when they are engaging with their work. Various reasons behind this can be assessed and solutions be provided. Usually, such conversations will lead to a better understanding of areas that the student had earlier misunderstood or neglected. Necessary adjustments are made, and learners are able to improve their skills (Rozenszayn & Assaraf, 2011).

Through collaborative learning, students are able to understand that educational conventions are not simply illogical rules, but they truly mirror the readers’ expectations. It is, thus, obvious that if students want to be understood by the entire educational audience, they have to pay attention to rules of academic writing. This makes them meet the expectations of their instructors, peers and the general audience. Collaborative writing also gives an opportunity to students to practice assessment writing. This follows the notion that it is easier for someone to detect the awry of another person than to spot his or her own flaws (Hongling, 2012). It also seems easier to criticize the work of a fellow classmate than to criticize works that are given by the instructor.

Another reason why collaborative writing is essential is that students gain the audacity to boldly talk about their writing. During the peer review sessions, learners are able to pose queries about their writing. Other times they are given an opportunity to support their writing strategies. Finally, collaboration instills to students that learning and particularly writing is a process, and to heighten the mastery of these skills is a difficult task that needs a lot of practice. In argumentation, students realize that the best way to internalize something is to teach it. This makes them practice arguing uprightly, and in the process, they are able to improve their personal skills (Yanjie, Wenli, & Chee-Kit, 2012).

Ways through Which Collaborative Learning May Be Practiced

One of the main authentic values of collaborative learning is that it can be practiced in various ways. To begin with, collaborative activities can be done in small groups and at other times they might be conducted by the whole class. There are also some activities that work best while carried out in pairs, for example, sharing of essays (Dartmouth, 2012). This makes collaborative writing a widely open model of learning which offers opportunities to the instructor to improve skills of his or her learners through the utilization of the students’ skills; instructors can use students to assess their colleagues work and help them improve in areas where they might be experiencing difficulties. Other collaborative exercises work best when learners receive various points of view. This is, for instance, when the obligation of the exercise is to sharpen a thesis or narrow a topic.

Whichever decision is made, the instructor should ensure that peer exercises ought to be cautiously designed to ascertain that they mirror needs of learners and achieve preset goals. It is not always advisable for the instructor to design the exercise on his or her own; he or she should integrate students in the process. This is more of brainstorming, and it ignites more ideas and heightens the effectiveness of the most accurate procedures that can be followed (Taylor, McGrath-Champ, & Clarkeburn, 2012). One of the most accurate use of collaborative learning in writing is asking learners to assess and then respond to their colleagues’ written work. To ascertain that learners are in a position to carry out these tasks effectively, they must have been taught diagnose and response methods. Often, while students are assessing their colleagues use two main methods: they either try to imitate their instructors or they respond to the work they are assessing as editors. Among the two, there is neither of methods that can be deemed effectual. In the first case, learners tend to exert pressure over their classmates’ work, and in the second case, they only correct errors rather than exercise assistance in decent writing (Dartmouth, 2012).

Ways That Can Improve the Effectiveness of Collaborative Reading

In order to avoid pitfalls that are often associated with methods of diagnosing and responding, there are various techniques that can be embraced to improve the outcome of student-assessed papers. The firstly one is to read the classmate’s work as a common reader. When students read as common readers, they are able to recognize their personal responses to a particular piece of writing. One is able to establish whether he or she is getting bored, annoyed, delighted or fascinated. Usually, a negative response to a given piece of writing reflects an underlying problem with writing. If a reader gets bored, it is likely that the writer was unfocussed, he or she strays from the topic, or may be he or she is not able to come up with strong, emphatic sentences to attract the attention of the reader (Congleton & Rajaram, 2011). This obliges instructors to ask students to train students on how to hold firm to their experiences, when it comes to a particular text, as this can enable them develop strengths and weaknesses of a particular paper.

Secondly, students should read with a widened scope, in order to know the writer. Reading should be done to not only to get what is in the paper, but also to uncover the abundance of information that in the paper regarding what the writer is and what he or she believes in: sometimes there are a lot of bias that are concealed within the paper, and they later turn out to be main problems of the paper. It is, therefore, essential for every learner to understand that values, opinions, feelings and assumptions could be undermining a given text. In the process of assessing their classmates’ work, they should try to establish what the writer knows and what they do not know regarding academic writing (Dartmouth, 2012). Students should, for instance, try to establish whether their classmates are able to write effective thesis, whether they are able to cite their works effectively and generally present their work in a chronological manner.

Thirdly, students should read to diagnose the problem. This, consequently, requires the instructor to provide the appropriate guidelines and terminologies that should be used to correct papers. This means that instructors are expected to devote some of their time explaining concepts that they feel they are necessary for the success of a particular paper. Students can then check out for these problems and discuss issues among themselves as they assess each other’s work (Hongling, 2012). Finally, students should read to improve the paper. Though, it is an easier task for students to diagnose problems highlighted in the paper, it is quite a difficult task to offer advice as to what should be done in order to improve the quality of a particular paper. Bearing this in mind, the instructor should guide students on how to improve poor sentences to better ones. This process should be carried out collectively, with learners giving suggestions and opinions. After integrating students’ suggestions, the instructor should then try some of them and check which among them will give better results. Students can later do the same in their individual work.

Briefly, facilitative writing proposes that a reader should respond to a piece of writing in a way that enhances goals of a particular writer. As such, readers should ask questions instead of giving directions for improvement, to enable the writer decide individually which step to take. Phrases such as “omit this” should be replaced with “why did you include this?” This approach makes the writer understand that excellent writing is just matter of making apt choices. Otherwise, if a student is provided with all directions, he or she will not be in a position to think of his or her own alternatives that can be used to improve the work. However, when questions are used, students are able to determine various ways that an idea can be expressed, in order to develop an argument. Although peer group work is the most used technique in collaborative learning, most instructors tend to use collaborative assignments in order to feel the benefits of peer learning, such as collaborative research assignments, discussion groups, collaborative papers and group presentations (Rozenszayn & Assaraf, 2011).

Collaborative research assignments enable learners to work as a team and explore a significant topic to the course, though it might not be covered in the class before. Working in groups helps students to cover more than each student would have covered on his or her own. Additionally, they can come up with various strategies and discuss which among them is the best and why (Dartmouth, 2012). At times, collaborative research gives rise to other collaborative assignments; for example, group presentations or papers. In group presentations, instructors are expected to prepare topics and questions for various groups to consider, and later make presentations to the rest of the class. One of the major advantages of this method is that it permits the weaker learners to depend on the stronger ones for success. This way, students are able to help their peers in one way or the other, some of which are critical areas that the less advantaged could not open up to the instructor.

Collaborative papers are used just like group presentations and collaborative research tasks. They enable the instructor to ask learners to engage in activities that have not been tackled in class. Learners are normally requested to produce the final paper together: they might sometimes be requested to research the paper together or alternatively divide it into various sections and then merge various portions harmoniously, as though it was from a single author (Hongling, 2012). One of the main advantages of group papers is that they demand that students take into consideration stages of their writing process as they sub-divide the work amongst themselves. Finally, there are the discussion groups where students are instructed to meet either informally or formally, and discuss texts that might seem difficult to them. Discussions are highly improved when the class is divided into smaller groups and students are furnished with questions to consider (Dartmouth, 2012).


In conclusion, it can be inferred that collaboration is undoubtedly one of the most effective methods of improving learning in modern society. This follows the notion that it involves a number of activities that were previously absent in techniques that were used a few decades ago. As already observed above, papers that have been prepared individually immensely differ from those that have been prepared in a group in terms of quality. Students also get an opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills, as well as reduce errors that they could be making in their personal works. They additionally acquire assessment skills through the peer evaluation activities that they engage in under the instructors’ supervision. Allowing students to put forward their views, opinions and arguments can, thus, be deemed crucial in the improvement of the learning process.

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