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Collaborative Learning Benefits and its Influence on Career Success

Student learning in a group together


"Utility is strength... when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved." - Mattie Stepanek 

From a very early age, society teaches the importance of collaborative learning and its ability to improve performance. We receive instruction to work alongside others, because, as many have said, "teamwork makes the dreamwork." While this may be true, most of us haven't profoundly considered the meaning behind collaborative learning and its effectiveness. Furthermore, what is the process? And why is it important?

To truly comprehend the importance of collaborative learning, we must first identify what it means. From there, we can look at the underlying approaches of the collaborative learning process and how it is essential to lead a successful career. 

What is collaborative learning?

According to the published article Collaborative Learning: A Sourcebook for Higher Education1, collaborative learning is "an umbrella term for a variety of educational approaches involving a joint intellectual effort by students, or students and teachers together. Usually, students are working in groups of two or more, mutually searching for understanding, solutions, or meanings, or creating a product." In short, it encapsulates every group project and team effort we all painstakingly navigated at one point in our lives. 

Common Collaborative Learning Approaches[1]:

Like many successful ventures, there is a unique strategy at the center that, with proper execution, creates an impeccable dynamic. The processes created by collaborative learning strategies are no different. However, it is essential to note there are many types of approaches that can make up a process. Let's look into a familiar few. 

Peer Teaching:

The process of "peer teaching" dates back to one of the oldest forms of collaborative learning. This method allows students to teach each other, enabling approaches such as Supplemental Instruction, the Writing Fellows, and Mathematics Workshops. Each of these processes focuses on facilitating collaborative learning in a way that allows both the instructor and the student to learn from each other through teaching.

Cooperative Learning: 

The method behind cooperative learning emphasizes the importance of developing strong interpersonal skills. Group work-learning fosters an environment of cooperation, which is the main ingredient to high-quality group work. Many tasks in this model include a mix of academic and social skill objectives that allow for students to exercise multiple skill sets. 

Learning Communities: 

The purpose of learning communities is to act as a delivery system and a facilitating structure for collaborative learning. Most communities share two common goals; providing students with intellectual coherence by bringing classes together and formulating relationships between subject matter or teaching a skill. The second, they strive to build both an academic and social community for students by enrolling them in a large block of course work. This form of collaborative learning bridges the gap between issues such as a lack of meaningful connections between faculty and students, fragmentation of general education classes, and students' isolation. 

What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Learning?

After looking at some of the conventional approaches, it becomes apparent that it fosters a fruitful learning atmosphere, teaching individuals valuable skills that can be applied outside the academic context. With collaborative learning's implementation as a prerequisite into educational institutions, patrons are better prepared to jump into the working world with experience navigating group work and team efforts. Much like being in a classroom, businesses require cooperation with others to complete tasks and streamline efficiencies as great collaboration often yields more significant results. Why are some of the best companies in the world the best? They are unified as an organization, with each individual working together to achieve a common goal. 

The average person typically wants to have their voice heard and, more importantly, see their contributions to the group come to fruition. By encouraging a culture of teamwork, organizations can see better performance across the board and ultimately benefit from the processes instilled by learning collaboratively. For those looking to develop themselves professionally, collaborative learning prepares them to not only work with others but to learn from them. And, in turn, those teachings can be applied to help drive career advancement and secure future opportunities. If one prerequisite for a successful career is collaborative learning, it is evident why academic institutions instill this process within their teachings. 

Experience Collaborative Learning at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business School

At Pepperdine Graziadio, we understand the importance of collaborative learning and its positive impact on individuals, businesses, and forward-thinking organizations. Our structured, academic curriculum emphasizes learning collaboratively through small class sizes, hands-on educational applications, and a personalized learning approach administered by our faculty. Through our various graduate degree programs, students gain real-world business acumen that directly applies to challenges and opportunities business experience today. With Pepperdine Graziadio, students embark on an academic journey that prepares them for a life of leadership, enabling them to make values-based decisions that establish the precedent for the future waves of business. 


[1]Goodsell, Anne, Michelle Maher, Vincent Tinto, Barbara Leigh Smith, and Jean MacGregor. What Is Collaborative Learning? National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment at Pennsylvania State University, 1992. https://www.evergreen.edu/sites/default/files/facultydevelopment/docs/WhatisCollaborativeLearning.pdf.