Abstract

Abstract— Collaborative learning plays a vital role in teaching learning mechanism that enable learners involved in groups or teams get engaged to interact, collaborate and learn together on comprehending subject matter or attempting exam patterns. This paper aim is to investigate Learner learning ability through collaborative environment using Student Teams Achievement Division(STAD) approach. In the proposed approach Learners are divided in heterogeneous

manner into different teams of size four each where their cognitive learning abilities are assessed based on quizzes with lateral thinking on a subject matter. The results reveal the effect of collaborative strategy to improve all individual teams performance and learning ability and the factors associated it.

Keywords: Collaborative Learning, Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Teams.

1. Introduction: Every person is involved in learning something all the time. To a lay man learning may mean reading a passage, memorizing a formula, understanding a process or even listening to a teacher. To educators and teachers Learning is relatively permanent change in behavior resulting from reinforced practice. When a Learner is able to do something after instruction which he could not do before then he is said to have learnt. Principles of learning are

beliefs, tenets, or axioms that guide the instructional process. Following are some general principles of learning.
  • Active participation of Learner is a prerequisite for learning
  • similarities between instructional event and actual tasks in jobs lead to greater transfer of learning
  • Different learning outcomes require different but appropriate instructional strategies
  • Learners differ in the ways in which they learn and the rate at which they learn
  • Motivated Learners learn fast f) Repetitive practice is essential for over learning
  • Every learner is responsible for his/her own learning

As Learners learning abilities differ from each other, most of the Learners fail to learn things at a pace they have to learn. This may happen due to several reasons like Learner not interested at point of lecture time, Learner unable to clarify doubts due to lack of communication or fear of concerned staff etc. To overcome this difficulty Learners learning capability can be improved by involving them in group activities through collaborative learning strategies

Lecture on the Concept

20 Minutes

Pre Test Quiz

10 Minutes

Learners Work Together

20 Minutes

Post Test Quiz

10 Minutes

Figure 1. Structure of the class in Collaborative Learning Strategy Collaboration provides an environment where peers of similar or dissimilar learning abilities can interact, respect abilities of others, discuss and learn among themselves thereby can develop team building and leadership qualities.

Benefits of collaborative learning [1] categorize benefits of CL into four categories social, physiological, academic and alternate Learner-teacher assessment techniques. Social benefits of CL help learners to develop positive atmosphere, learning communities and social support systems among Learners and staff. Physiological benefits of CL would improve Learners self esteem, reduces anxiety and cultivates positive attitude towards peers and staff. Academic benefits would improve Learner’s critical thinking, various problem solving methodologies, out of box thinking, active participation in class rooms thereby increasing academic performance. Final class uses varying assessments to assess Learner performance and his learning ability in collaboration environment.

Different types of tests can be implemented to evaluate Learner learning performance in collaborative environment. Some of them include alternate choice, matching type, multiple choice, completion type, short answers, essay questions, rating scales, check list, quizzes, fill in the blanks, mapping and crossword puzzles etc. which can be both offline and online.

STAD approach groups Learners into different teams of size four each and analyses their cognitive learning abilities in collaborative environment. Grouping of teams can be done in two ways homogeneous and heterogeneous. Homogeneous teams comprise of Learners having same level of learning abilities where as Heterogeneous teams involve Learners with different levels of learning. The structure of class in the proposed STAD approach is given in Fig. 1. The instructor before delivering the lecture first forms the teams with mixed level of learning abilities of Learners for collaborative learning strategy. The selection of Learners for team formation is based on their previous semester grades and prerequisite subject performance. In an hour period, the instructor delivers the lecture on the concept for 20 minutes. In the next level Learners attempt a pre test quiz on the questions provided in MOODLE. In the third level, pre quiz questions and short questions related to subject matter is given to Learners and then Learners in teams are allowed to interact and discuss with each other relevant to subject matter questions.

Another important aspect in this level is motivating non participating members by explaining importance of topic and encouraging them by providing bonus marks. All members are motivated before starting the activity with proper explanation about benefits of the activity and what they would acquire after attempting the activity. They would acquire engineering attributes if they actively participate in the activity. After discussion time is over Learners attempt another quiz on same subject after having collaboration with their peers. Based on their marks obtained from quizzes Learners’ team Performance is assessed and also how collaborative strategy influenced his learning ability. The expectations of collaborative learning would be learning from peers, group discussion participation, role play and team building, team management, leadership qualities and out of boxing thinking etc. To assess team performance in collaborative environment, group median value is computed from two quizzes and also mean value of post quiz is also computed. Mean value computation of a team is given in eq. (1) where S(k) indicates marks of a Learner k and n denotes team size.

  • μ=(∑_(k=1)^n =S(k))/n
  • ∇=(S(n/2)+S((n+2)/(2 )))/2
  • ∇= S((n+2)/(2 ))

Median computation is given in equations 2 and 3 where former is for even team size and later is for odd team size. Using mean and median we can evaluate improvement in learning ability of Learners in two cases.

Case 1 (Mean < Median)

It indicates Learner gets more benefitted because of learning in collaborative learning environment.

Case 2 (Mean > Median)

Mean value dominates median that indicate Learner gets less benefitted in collaborative learning environment. This may happen due to several reasons like team composition, lack of monitoring of instructor, Learners not discussing with each other or discussing irrelevant matter other than subject, lack of interest of Learner etc.

Based on the results, the instructor has to take necessary actions like conducting remedial classes for Learners with less improvement and motivating them towards effective learning.

There are certain guidelines for motivating Learners like
  • topic objectives should be made clear and unambiguous
  • let the Learners know their progress they have made which creates curiosity and interest for further learning
  • providing rewards
  • creating competition in academic work among Learners by involving them in project works and assignments etc
  • adapting objective scheme of evaluating Learners work f) make more use of learner-centered, user-friendly and resource-based instructional approaches rather than teacher-centered approaches etc.
1. Experimental Results:

Table 1 shows the results of STAD approach in collaborative environment. The experiment is carried out on final year B.Tech Learners on topic Tuples and Dictionaries in Python in the course Programming with Python with a capacity of 52 Learners divided into 13 teams. Team formation is based on heterogeneous nature and team members attempt pre test and post test individually based on quizzes in MOODLE platform. Between the two tests collaboration learning activity of team members is done. From the results it is clear that for the teams whose team performance less than median indicates Learners in teams gets benefitted because of learning in collaborative environment which is the case for teams 1-8, 10-12 (11 teams). Team performance greater than median indicates Learners in teams get less benefit due to collaborative learning environment which is the case for two teams 9 and 13. The reasons for the teams whose team performance less than median may be motivation provided by instructor and by peers in teams, all Learners seriously involved in the activities, team spirit among teams etc. The reasons for other teams may be team composition, conflicts and egos among team members, lack of discipline in team members, team members discussing on irrelevant subject matter, lack of motivation in them and lack of monitoring of instructor towards them etc.

Team No. Pre Test Marks (s1,s2,s3,s4) Pre Test (Mean, Median) Post Test Marks Post Test (Mean, Me-dian) Team Performance Less than median of post test(Y/N)
Team 1 (9,5,5,4) (5.75, 5.00) (10,9,10,6) (8.75, 9.50) Yes
Team 2 (9,5,5,4) (5.75, 5.00) (10,8,8,5) (7.75, 8.00) Yes
Team 3 (9,4,4,3) (5.00, 4.00) (10,9,9,6) (8.50, 9.00) Yes
Team 4 (10,8,9,8) (8.75, 8.00) (8.75, 8.00) (8.75, 9.00) Yes
Team 5 (10,8,8,7) (8.25, 8.00) (10,9,7,9) (8.75, 9.00) Yes
Team 6 (9,7,7,5) (7.00, 7.00) (9,9,8,7) (8.25, 8.50) Yes
Team 7 (9,7,7,2) (6.25, 7.00) (6.25, 7.00) (7.75, 8.50) Yes
Team 8 (7,8,5,4) (6.00, 6.00) (8,9,6,8) (7.75, 8.00) Yes
Team 9 (7,6,3,1) (4.25, 4.50) (9,6,6,4) (6.25, 6.00) No
Team 10 (7,6,5,4) (5.50, 5.50) (9,8,7,5) (7.25, 7.50) Yes
Team 11 (7,5,4,2) (4.50, 4.50) (9,8,8,6) (7.75, 8.00) Yes
Team 12 (7,6,4,2) (4.75, 5.00) (9,7,7,4) (6.75, 7.00) Yes
Team 13 (6,4,3,2) (3.75, 3.50) (9,6,5,4) (6.00, 5.50) NO
Table 1. Learner Learning Assessment in Collaborative Learning Environment

2. Conclusion:

We have proposed Learner Teams Achievement Method approach to evaluate Learner learning ability in collaborative environment. We have conducted experiment on 13 teams comprising of 52 Learners allowing them to take pre test, collaboration activity and post test using which their learning ability is evaluated. In order to assess we have given importance to median value rather than mean value of team because mean value sometimes mislead performance parameter of a team. From the results we can conclude that teams with mean less than median said to have improved through collaboration learning strategy and others have less benefitted. In our future work we try to implement a model for collaboration learning strategy which aims to motivate and improve teams which have not got significant improvement in their learning process.

References

  • Marjan Laal & Seyed Mohammad Ghodsi. Benefits of Collaborative Learning, ELSEVIER Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 31 (2012) 486 – 490.