Group learning requires the cooperation of a group of learners with each other. This method is useful for the learner in several ways. It Creates positive motivation and support for people to learn new skills and content, develops the skills needed to work in various groups ,develops inter-personal skills, encourages individual responsibility and accountability, and also provides a platform for learning and practicing social skills.
The ability to engage in participatory activities is a indispensible skill that is often overlooked in the formal education process. This article summarizes the basic components of collaborative learning and provides tips on how to introduce activities based on this type of learning in the classroom.
Why is Group learning important?
Conventional learning methods are often very passive. People are expected to sit, listen, learn and remember. But participatory learning creates an environment in which teaching and learning takes place between the learners themselves.It actively engages them in the learning process so that all the members are under positive pressure to participate in achieving the set goals of the group.
In addition, with this method, all the members are supposed to achieve certain goals and all are supported to achieve a prescribed goal. The experience of participatory learning in an education system that typically promotes individualism and monotony creates the perception that in order to be successful, one must connect and trust others. This sense of interdependence is critical to success. One of the most valuable functions of collaborative learning is the teaching of interpersonal and social skills.
Collaborative groups, especially when working with people with behavioral problems, create a safe and enthusiastic environment in which other members of the group develop social skills. In fact, a participatory group is a place where learners can practice new skills.
What skills are needed for the success of Group and Team learning?
Creating a “positive sense of interdependence” is essential pre-requisite to the success of collaborative learning. Positive interdependence means feeling that the participation and cooperation of each member of the group is valuable and achieving the goal of the group is not possible,without the participation of each member.
In 1991, Johnson lists the skills that should be taught to individuals in participatory groups and given the opportunity to practice them:
The first step in creating an atmosphere of positive interdependence is to set common goals that can only be achieved with the participation of all members. The goal should be designed so that all members of the group feel equally responsible for learning from other members.
Three general skills are needed to lead and promote participatory learning;
1- Orientation; These include the ability to review instructions, warn time constraints, and suggest strategies for moving tasks forward effectively.
2- Summarizing; It means reviewing the topics that have been read or discussed in the group, so that all members of the group are informed.
3- Creating answer options; This means that several options are offered so that the group can choose the best one.
How do people learn participatory and group skills?
Group skills are not usually learned in school. The educational system, from the first stages of education in kindergarten, instead of emphasizing interdependence and participation, focuses on monotony and competition. As a result, learners cannot be expected to succeed immediately in collaborative learning groups; they must first be taught the necessary skills.
These skills are first taught by explaining the methods.
It is better to show learners both the effective implementation of skills and their ineffective implementation,then discuss their differences rfollowed by choosing the best option. Finally,give people the opportunity to practice and execute the assigned plans.
What behavioral problems may occur in participatory groups?
Dishan and Aliri (1984) discuss different ways to deal with four common behavioral problems that are more common than other problems in collaborative learning groups. Especially when learners are learning how to collaborate and participate in a group. These problems include:
i)Passive participatory avoidance: Passive avoidance describes the situation of an individual who withdraws from the group, ignores group work, is silent or speaks very little, does not perform the tasks assigned to him in the group, and has similar behaviors.
ii)Active participation avoidance: In this inclusive state, a member is active in the group, talks and participates in all activities; He may leave the group, deliberately give incorrect answers, or refuse to cooperate with a member of the group.
iii)Presidentialism and control: In this case, you encounter a learner who feels like a leader, does not allow other members to work, instructs them, does all the work herself and makes decisions without consulting others and taking their opinion into account.(feminine)
Presidentialism and control: In this case, you encounter a learner who feels like a leader, does not allow other members to work, instructs them, does all the work himself and makes decisions without consulting others and taking their opinion into account.(masculine)
KEYWORDS: Collaborative Learning,Group Learning, Group Dynamics, Social Skills,behavioral problems,Group Learner, Participatory Groups, Authoritarian member, Motivation