Collaborative Learning: Increasing Students' Engagement Outside the Classroom

Hernandez, Rosario (2012) Collaborative Learning: Increasing Students' Engagement Outside the Classroom. US-China Education Review. pp. 804-812. ISSN 1548-6613, 1548-6613


Several factors, including the Bologna process, the embargo on university posts, and a larger student population pursuing degrees, have contributed to radical changes in teaching, learning, and assessment in Irish higher education in the last few years. Challenges to academics have resulted in curriculum reform, and most importantly, in innovative practices in which the curriculum is delivered and assessed. It was in this context that a collaborative component has been introduced into Level 2 Spanish language modules at University College Dublin. A small action research project has been undertaken to explore the students' views about this innovative way of learning. This article addresses the extent to which collaborative learning outside the classroom contributes to the enhancement of student learning and it examines the obstacles encountered by the students during the semester. The discussion of the findings focuses on feedback from the students and on group reflections submitted via blackboard, the university's VLE (virtual learning environment). (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)

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