CL1 - FAQs: "I tried it before and it didn't work."













"I tried it before and it didn't work."

As with any new endeavor, success may not initially be forthcoming, and it may take several tries before it works. Try to analyze why collaborative learning didn't work. Here are some questions to ponder:

    Were the groups too large or too small?
    Was there sufficient in-class meeting time for the groups?
    Did the group activities actually require a group, or did each member do individual tasks with the results merely tacked together?
    Did the group members become a cohesive team?
    Did the students receive guidance on group skills and dynamics?
    Did the group work count sufficiently towards the final grade? If not, the students may have focused on what they were evaluated on, and put little effort to make the group function well.
    Were the same pre-collaborative learning individual assignments used but merely changed to "group activities"? If so, the assignments may not be appropriate group projects.
    Was the assignment sufficently challenging.
    Were the groups a highly valued component of the course, and was this clearly relayed to the students? Was there a mechanism to assure individual as well as group accountability?
Finally, a humorous quote by Samuel Beckett on persistence comes to mind:
    "Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better."

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