Collaborative learning / Apprentissage collaboratif

Version française

On this page, you will find interesting links about  : active learning, collaborative/cooperative learning, learning communities, liberating education, etc. Please comment et tell me other interesting sites that you may know on these subjects.

The Website “” offers a series of articles very precise but also very easy to read on what is constructivism.

“In the constructivist classroom, the focus tends to shift from the teacher to the students. The classroom is no longer a place where the teacher (“expert”) pours knowledge into passive students, who wait like empty vessels to be filled. In the constructivist model, the students are urged to be actively involved in their own process of learning. The teacher functions more as a facilitator who coaches, mediates, prompts, and helps students develop and assess their understanding, and thereby their learning. One of the teacher’s biggest jobs becomes ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS. And, in the constructivist classroom, both teacher and students think of knowledge not as inert factoids to be memorized, but as a dynamic, ever-changing view of the world we live in and the ability to successfully stretch and explore that view.

Teachthought is a Website proposing a lot of resources for teachers and educators. In this article, Judy Willis M.D., M.Ed.,, offers 2 Hands-On Games to build thinking skills In students : “What EF Am I?” and “Predict & Clarify3

Jason Farman,( the author of Mobile Interface Theory: Embodied Space and Locative Media) explains in his blog the truths he discovered in his experience of that :

  • Learning is Not The Same Thing as Receiving Information
  • Lectures Are Not the Enemy of Active Learning.
  • The Loudest Voice in the Room is Not Always the Smartest.
  • Technology Should Not Be Banned from the Classroom.
  • Grades Do Not Capture the Entire Picture.
  • This Manifesto is Subject To Change at the Professor’s Discretion.

Collaborative learning is a situation in which two or more people learn or attempt to learn something together. Unlike individual learning, people engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.).

Collaborative learning is a method of teaching and learning in which students team together to explore a significant question or create a meaningful project. A group of students discussing a lecture or students from different schools working together over the Internet on a shared assignment are both examples of collaborative learning.

Cooperative learning, is a specific kind of collaborative learning. In cooperative learning, students work together in small groups on a structured activity. They are individually accountable for their work, and the work of the group as a whole is also assessed. Cooperative groups work face-to-face and learn to work as a team.

A study examining the effectiveness of individual learning versus collaborative learning in enhancing drill-and-practice skills and critical-thinking skills.

A very interesting article reminding that the idea that we learn best when we learn together is quite old. Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky, although not as famous as his contemporary Jean Piaget, arguably developed the first modern collaborative learning theory, one that emphasizes the inherently social nature of learning. For educators or self-taught learners using the Web 2.0, understanding Vygotsky’s theories can definitely help in maximizing the benefits of collaborative learning on the Internet.

  • CONSTRUCTIVISM : A very interesting article explaining what is constructivism.

Constructivism states that learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it. Knowledge is constructed based on personal experiences and hypotheses of the environment. Learners continuously test these hypotheses through social negotiation. Each person has a different interpretation and construction of knowledge process. The learner is not a blank slate (tabula rasa) but brings past experiences and cultural factors to a situation.

learning community is a group of people who share common emotions, values or beliefs, are actively engaged in learning together from each other, and by habituation. Such communities have become the template for a cohort-based, interdisciplinary approach to higher education. This may be based on an advanced kind of educational or ‘pedagogical’ design.[1]

This study examines the relationships between participating in learning  communities and student engagement in a range of educationally purposeful activities of  first-year and senior students from 365 four-year institutions. The findings indicate that  participating in a learning community is positively linked to engagement as well as  student self-reported outcomes and overall satisfaction with college.

Do you know what are MOOCs ? They are “Massive Open On-line Courses“

500 high school students from the 9th and 11th grades are at this moment taking two MOOCs courses, one from Georgia tech on robotics, and the other from Rochester University on astronomy. Both courses are well above the theoretical level of knowledge of the students, and even teachers! However, they have decided to take the course and more importantly, to complete it.

The students don’t work in an isolated way but together in their classrooms, and also in a cooperative way between them. Teachers work with their students in the classroom: they learn together  from the same videos, the same on-line materials and all take the exams individually. All the videos that are produced weekly by the two US Universities are subtitled in Hebrew by the Ministry of Education four hours after they are released.

Do you want to know more about MOOCs? The Website “MOOC List” is an aggregator (directory) of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) from different providers in different languages.


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