Possibilities and challenges of collaborative learning in Higher Education
Authors: Edna Lampert Klein; Dilmeire Sant'Anna Ramos Vosgerau
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Practicing collaborative learning in higher education aims to build knowledge in a shared environment among students. In this practice, learning is a process shared by and between students and mediated by the teacher. During this process, the teacher also fosters group interaction, collaboration and development. This study aims to describe the benefits and challenges of using collaborative learning practices in higher education, based on articles published in SciELO. In this systematic review, we found 147 articles that address the practice of collaborative learning, however only 46 met the following criteria: publication between 2000 and 2016, empirical research, and higher education. The mapped research defines collaborative learning as a collective, interactive and shared work that enables the construction of knowledge collaboratively. All the articles dealing with this approach present this practice as beneficial to the student under different aspects, including: developing autonomy, learning through interaction, and developing responsibility for their own learning. One of the challenges we identified is to dissociate the practice of collaborative learning from the use of technologies, since collaborative learning does not depend on them, and, consequently, training the teachers for this dissociation. We concluded that this practice enables the construction of learning and knowledge in a shared way among students. Nevertheless, teacher’s understanding of the concept of collaborative learning and its acceptance by students remain great challenges for collaborative learning to be applicable in both face-to-face and hybrid learning, not necessarily associated with the use of technology.