An Examination of the Factors Influencing Student Participation in Collaborative Approaches to Examination Preparation

Greenbank, P. (2007) An Examination of the Factors Influencing Student Participation in Collaborative Approaches to Examination Preparation. Education in a Changing Environment International Conference, 12-14 September, Salford, Greater Manchester.

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Abstract

The term ‘collaborative (or ‘peer) learning is used to describe learning environments that encourage students to ‘learn with and from each other’ (Boud, 2001, p. 3). Collaborative learning is employed in a variety of contexts. This paper examines the use of collaboration for examination preparation. It is based on an on-going piece of action research into the use of collaborative approaches to examination preparation on a third year undergraduate module at Edge Hill University. Previous cycles in the action research process highlighted: (a) the need to take more account of the students’ values when introducing collaborative learning; (b) the benefits of helping students establish a network of peers who they can link up with for collaborative purposes; and (c) the need to develop the students’ ability to work in groups. As a response to these issues the students have been introduced to the theory and practice of group work and collaborative learning during the first year of their degree. These interventions appeared to improve the students’ ability to work in groups and also raised the level of collaborative learning that the students engaged in. There remain, however, a significant number of students who do not participate in the collaborative learning process when preparing for their examination. The research for this paper focused on the factors influencing the level of student participation in the collaborative process. It found that three key issues acted as barriers to student participation in collaborative approaches to examination preparation. The paper ends by examining how the barriers to collaboration can be overcome. It discusses whether the advantages of collaboration and the requirement to develop interpersonal skills and the ability to work in groups (see QAA benchmark standards) justify compelling students to engage in collaborative approaches to examination preparation. The paper also considers offering additional targeted support to particular types of student. Finally, the paper discusses the measures and support mechanisms that might be put in place to help students manage their studies more effectively so that they are more likely to engage in collaborative activities.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Education
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2011 12:49
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/3150

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