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Teamwork improves learning and career success

A recent longitudinal study has shown that students participating in cooperative learning activities learn better and develop higher level skills. The study was carried out by Professor Elsa Sanchez and Professor Richard Craig at the University of Pennsylvania, within the horticulture department. The researchers designed their Plant Systematics course around a cooperative learning module.

Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy that requires students to work in teams on a variety of activities.  For example, students in this study participated in hands-on laboratories and worked in randomly assigned teams for their final exams.  The researchers found that, though this type of curriculum took more organization and planning, there were many benefits for the students.  In this study, students showed improvements in indicators of higher-level thinking, such as application of concepts and analysis and synthesis of information.  This type of learning environment not only helps student with their academic studies but also allows students to practice skills that will enhance their future career e.g. conflict resolution, creativity and time management. The authors see the benefits of using this process that extend beyond the classroom, they state that ' students benefit from practicing real-world skills that they will need after graduation' To read the article click here.  To find out more about cooperative learning  click here

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