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The Importance of Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning, in its most basic form, is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together. This can be done through project based work, seminars or study groups. In universities, the collaborative approach is normally taken in seminars, where students have a chance to delve deeper into topics covered in lectures, in much smaller groups. But collaborative learning happens everywhere – in cafes, breakout areas and corridors!

Collaborative working assists in making difficult topics easier to understand, especially when they are explained by someone who only recently learnt the material themselves. Having the opportunity to bounce ideas and understanding off a peer, hugely helps with our own personal thinking. Professor Dan Butin has argued that peer to peer and project based learning should be used even more widely in schools and universities as they are “much better learning tools” than lectures or chalk and talk sessions. 

So, what is the best way to design your classroom to facilitate group work? The design of the collaborative classroom emphasizes group learning. In the ideal scenario, tables should be easy to move to enable groups of all sizes to sit or stand and work together. Being able to share work on a screen, or ideas on a writable surface encourages interaction and feedback. Allowing different styles of seating helps learners to choose the environment that they feel most comfortable in. This may be a table and chair, or it could be a soft seat or standing height table.

A popular approach is to also facilitate an informal learning space, for example breakout spaces or Learning resource centres, where students have comfortable areas with beanbags, reading nooks and dual purpose room dividers, for example bookcases. Here they are comfortable yet surrounded by resources to use for peer-to-peer learning.

With BYOD becoming more popular in universities and schools as part of the collaborative culture, students also need a way to bring their devices and work together in a more efficient way in order to collaborate. With zioxi’s collaborative tables, it is easier than ever to integrate technology and furniture to bring people, space and information together for greater collaboration than ever before. There is a wide choice of AV connection methods for BYOD laptops, tablets and smartphones.

We offer free consultation and design for all styles of learning, including collaborative.

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