Using Collaborative Problem Solving to Improve Learning

Credit: iStock.com/elenabs
Credit: iStock.com/elenabs
Collaborative problem solving is an active learning strategy that promotes a richer understanding of course content, application, and significance than traditional lecture-based pedagogy. When students participate in collaborative problem solving, they not only learn course content, but they also practice critical process skills, including information processing, problem solving, and critical thinking. Additionally, collaboration fosters process skills like teamwork, oral and written communication, self-management, and leadership. Research has shown that student populations that learn these process skills experience increased confidence and self-efficacy (De Gale & Boisselle, 2015). In our courses, we have found collaborative problem solving beneficial for addressing three key student learning goals: factual recall, concept review, and content skill building (e.g., stoichiometry in a chemistry course).

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