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      Collaborative Learning in Higher Education: Evoking Positive Interdependence

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          Abstract

          This study focuses on factors increasing the effectiveness of collaborative learning. Results show that challenging, open, and complex group tasks that required the students to create something new and original evoked effective collaboration.

          Abstract

          Collaborative learning is a widely used instructional method, but the learning potential of this instructional method is often underused in practice. Therefore, the importance of various factors underlying effective collaborative learning should be determined. In the current study, five different life sciences undergraduate courses with successful collaborative-learning results were selected. This study focuses on factors that increased the effectiveness of collaboration in these courses, according to the students. Nine focus group interviews were conducted and analyzed. Results show that factors evoking effective collaboration were student autonomy and self-regulatory behavior, combined with a challenging, open, and complex group task that required the students to create something new and original. The design factors of these courses fostered a sense of responsibility and of shared ownership of both the collaborative process and the end product of the group assignment. In addition, students reported the absence of any free riders in these group assignments. Interestingly, it was observed that students seemed to value their sense of achievement, their learning processes, and the products they were working on more than their grades. It is concluded that collaborative learning in higher education should be designed using challenging and relevant tasks that build shared ownership with students.

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          Most cited references64

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          An Educational Psychology Success Story: Social Interdependence Theory and Cooperative Learning

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            A meta-analysis of team-efficacy, potency, and performance: interdependence and level of analysis as moderators of observed relationships.

            Meta-analytic techniques were used to examine level of analysis and interdependence as moderators of observed relationships between task-specific team-efficacy, generalized potency, and performance. Sixty-seven empirical studies yielding 256 effect sizes were identified and meta-analyzed. Results demonstrated that relationships are moderated by level of analysis. Effect sizes were stronger at the team level (p = .39) than at the individual level (p = .20). At the team level, both team-efficacy and potency had positive relationships with performance (ps = .41 and .37, respectively). Interdependence significantly moderated the relationship between team-efficacy and performance, but not between potency and performance. The relationship between team-efficacy and performance was stronger when interdependence was high (p = .45) than when it was low (p = .34).
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              Generative Processes of Comprehension

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Monitoring Editor
                Journal
                CBE Life Sci Educ
                CBE-LSE
                CBE-LSE
                CBE-LSE
                CBE Life Sciences Education
                American Society for Cell Biology
                1931-7913
                Winter 2016
                : 15
                : 4
                : ar69
                Affiliations
                [1] Department of Social Sciences, Utrecht University, 3508 TC Utrecht, The Netherlands
                [2] Department of Biology, Utrecht University, 3584 CH Utrecht, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                *Address correspondence to: Karin Scager ( k.scager@ 123456uu.nl ).
                Article
                CBE.16-07-0219
                10.1187/cbe.16-07-0219
                5132366
                27909019
                bf2ef522-ae94-464c-9899-115c76de4683
                © 2016 K. Scager et al. CBE—Life Sciences Education © 2016 The American Society for Cell Biology. This article is distributed by The American Society for Cell Biology under license from the author(s). It is available to the public under an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).

                “ASCB®” and “The American Society for Cell Biology®” are registered trademarks of The American Society for Cell Biology.

                History
                : 14 July 2016
                : 23 August 2016
                : 13 September 2016
                Categories
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                Custom metadata
                December 1, 2016

                Education
                Education

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