Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publisher

Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.

Comments

Originally published in the Proceedings of the EDU-COM 2006 International Conference. Engagement and Empowerment: New Opportunities for Growth in Higher Education, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 22-24 November 2006.

Abstract

Nowadays collaborative learning (CL) has been widely known as the most effective form of learning. Yet, despite all the studies and anecdotal experiences reported by teachers and researchers, the paradigm remains largely unused in university contexts. CL is a philosophy that encompasses all elements of group work and learning situations where students cooperate in order to accomplish a specific learning objective. It is a philosophy that fits in today's globalized world and provides an opportunity for students to become better citizens of the world. CL provides the mechanism for students to interact positively with people who think differently, not only locally, but also worldwide. In order to identify the effectiveness of CL, a peer group study approach was implemented in the 2nd semester pre-university mathematics program 2005. This paper describes a case study that explores and identifies the advantages of the peer group study approach on learning mathematics. In particular the case study aims to investigate the effectiveness of CL to enhance and enrich students‘ learning experience, and promote a positive attitude towards the subject matter. Through analysis of pre-and post-study questionnaires, learning journals and data sources, it was found that peer group study approach was invaluable in facilitating the understanding of mathematical concepts and acquiring problem-solving skills. The collaborative social context where interaction with peers was centralized played a key role in developing social interaction and communication skills of students. Social context highlights that learning and personal development cannot be disassociated from each other.

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