July 3 2019

Collaborative Learning vs Flipped Classroom

Written by Lambda Solutions

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Collaborative Learning vs Flipped Classroom

- 3 MIN READ - 

Two of the most popular and successful learning models currently used by educators and institutions are collaborative learning and the flipped classroom. Collaborative learning encourages learners to pool their ideas, efforts and understanding, so that whole classes can benefit from the range and diversity of knowledge on offer. A flipped classroom approach asks students to come to class already prepared to discuss materials. This frees up in-class time for inquiry, application and assessment.

To better understand what these styles of learning can offer students, the difference between the two learning styles, and how eLearning solutions can be applied to both approaches, take a look at the following tables.

1. Studying Source Materials

Collaborative Learning

Flipped Classroom

With the focus in a collaborative learning classroom on the communication and discussion of ideas, it’s important to set aside time for students to read and contemplate source materials. A popular collaborative approach to reading is Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR), which encourages students to assist each other’s comprehension while recording their individual progress in reading logs. As is often the case, the better-prepared students feel, the more confident and expressive they are likely to become.

The most well known characteristic of the flipped classroom is its emphasis on self-paced and self-motivated study. The process of integrating source materials is moved out of the classroom for two main reasons: to encourage students to create deeper and more personal relationships with the material, and to free up class time for active analysis. In eLearning models, though, learners needn’t feel isolated in their study! Forums, chats and reading guides, accessible through an LMS, are all on hand to aid the study process.


2. Student Discussions

Collaborative Learning

Flipped Classroom

A major advantage of collaborative learning is that it encourages students to talk! Rather than enforcing traditional expectations of classroom behaviour, collaborative learning approaches acknowledge the key role that unsupervised discussion can have in generating understanding, and how it is in talking that much of the learning occurs.

One area where flipped classrooms are similar to collaborative learning is in their emphasis on class-time discussion and collaboration. In a flipped classroom setup, students come to class having spent time studying independently, forming their own ideas. From this, the classroom becomes a place for testing out thoughts and theories.


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3. Instructing Students  

Collaborative Learning

Flipped Classroom

Instructing students within a collaborative environment can take various forms, but all approaches prioritize cooperation and discussion. For example, educators might present students with case studies or dilemmas, and ask them to come up with a response. Alternatively, they might take up a position and ask students to respond and criticise it.

Many flipped classroom educators create video lessons and lectures, and deliver them to students through an LMS. Some find that, by freeing themselves from repetitive teaching and explaining, they are able to devote more time to forming relationships with students, working with those who need extra help, and allowing for higher-order thinking.


4. Demonstrating Understanding 

Collaborative Learning

Flipped Classroom

Demonstrating and assessing understanding in a collaborative learning classroom is a relatively simple process. Because students are constantly presenting and discussing ideas with each other, group work makes the demonstration of student learning continuous. The flip side of this, however, is that educators must choose clear and appropriate times to make assessments. It may also be important to make students aware of when they’re being assessed.

One of the difficulties of flipped classrooms is finding appropriate moments to assess students’ understanding of materials. When students are doing the majority of their study and information integration away from class, it can be easier for struggling students to hide behind more vocal classmates. For this reason, Many flipped classroom educators give higher weight to activities completed in-class, where opportunities for attention to drift, distractions, and procrastination are less frequent.

Open source LMS platforms like Moodle and Totara Learn are ideal for establishing Flipped Classrooms, Collaborative Learning, or any other eLearning strategy. If you’re interested in creating a better learning experience, our LMS and eLearning Solution experts would love to hear from you.

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Disclaimer: This article was contributed by guest blogger Joe Hitchcock. Joe is a content writer from Vancouver BC, interested in culture, education and fiction. The views and opinions expressed belong to the guest blogger alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official policies or opinions of Lambda Solutions.

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