Active learning refers to a learner being actively engaged and interested in their learning (The University of Melbourne, 2009). There are many strategies used to get students actively participating in their learning. One such strategy, which I find most useful as a Learning Manager, is collaborative learning. Working collaboratively provides students with the opportunity to utilise their own skills, knowledge and abilities to assit a group in achieveing their desired outcome. Each student has a unique style of thinking and learning, and collaborative learning can encourage each individualistic approach. To illustrate, Lamarche-Bisson (2002, p268) discusses how different learning styles work. Auditory learners love to talk and listen and are encouraged to work with others. Visual learners think in pictures and words. Kinaesthetic learners need to get involved to learn. Discovering each learners style is essential to distributing group roles and tasks. Group members provide one another with feedback, challenge one anothers conclusions and reasoning and perhaps most importantly, teaching and encouraging one another. In the collaboartive learning environment, the learners are challenged both socially and emotionally as they listen to different perspectives, and are required to defend their ideas. In so doing, learners begin to create their own unique frameworks (Lea, Postmes & Rogers, 2002).
Furthermore, this knowledge based economy that we live in has many technologies available to assist students with learning, none more collaborative than the use of the internet. Electronic discussion boards and chat rooms, for example, can help Learning Mangers and students enhance collaboration (Lea, Postmes & Rogers, 2002).
Lamarche-Bisson, D. (2002). Learning styles- What are they? How can they help? World and I, 17(9). 268.
Lea, M., Postmes, T., & Rogers, P. (2002) Evaluation of a system to develop team players and improve productivity in collaborative learning groups. British Journal of Educational Technology, 33(1), 53-63.
The University of Melbourne. (2009). Academic Enrichment Services Academic Skills Unit, Retrieved July 20, 2009, from http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/asu/study/active-learning/index.html