Students learn better when they learn from each other.
Five essential elements to collaborative learning in groups
- Groups are interdependent
- Group members hold each other accountable
- Group members support each other’s learning
- Groups members use interpersonal skills effectively
- Group members work together to assess the effectiveness of the group
Benefits to collaborative learning
- Enhances student engagement with the material and creates a stimulating learning environment
- Encourages students to depend on one another rather than relying only on the teachers 
- Research suggests that collaborate learning no only increases learning but supports individual self-efficacy.
- Cooperative learning activities in class lead to more social involvement outside of class which is shown to support student retention and graduation rates 
- Students get the opportunity to practice leadership skills
- Fosters the value of diversity and experience working with people with a variety of world views
- Prepares students for the environment that they are likely to experience in future work and academics
Support student experience by providing a proper orientation for quality team work; teaming is a skill to develop as well as a process.
- Strategies include
- Explain the value and benefits of group work for projects with multiple members
- Use ice breakers and introductory activities to develop relationships
- Explain expectations and clarify typical roles in team assignments
- Give students tools for effective peer interaction
- Have teams draw up group contracts
- Provide opportunities of peer evaluation on the process and based on their contract midway through (for mid-course correction) and at the end.
- Team Make-Up
- The ideal group size is 5 or 6 (unless doing quick informal work like think-pair-share)
- Research generally supports the value of heterogeneous groups with some caveats
- If minority students or female students are alone in a group they can be isolated
- Low achievers may not take opportunities to lead if in a group with higher achievers
- Assign teams for the right balance rather than let students choose their own groups. Lower achievers tend to migrate towards other lower achievers.
 Tinto. Completing College. 162-163
 Chad, P. (2012). The Use of Team-Based Learning as an Approach to Increased Engagement and Learning for marketing students: A case study. Journal of Marketing Education, 34, 2, 128-139.
 James Eison. Teaching Strategies for the Twenty-First Century. In Richard Diamond (Ed). Field Guide to Academic Leadership. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2002).
 Vincent Tinto. Completing College: Rethinking Institutional Action. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012). 69.
 Ibid. 65
 John C. Bean. Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011). 201.
 Blumenfeld, P.C., Marx, R., Soloway, E. & Krajcik, J. (1996). Learning with Peers: From Small Group Cooperation to Collaborative Communities. Educational Researcher, 25, 8, 37-40.
 Elixabeth F. Barkley, Claire H. Major, K. Patricia Cross. Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014). 58.
 Barkley et al., Collaborative Learning Techniques. 76-87.