The Good, the Bad, and the Pandemic: An Intra-Group Approach to Exploring Students’ Experiences with Collaborative Learning During COVID-19
Keywords:collaborative learning, group work, students' experience, COVID-19, mixed-methods
Collaborative learning is increasingly common in higher education, with several studies pointing to its effectiveness. However, it also poses some social and cognitive challenges for students, resulting in students’ mixed attitudes toward collaborative learning. COVID-19 has added to these challenges by, for example, introducing barriers to face-to-face communication. Existing studies exploring the impact of COVID-19 on students’ experiences with collaborative learning focus on individual students, missing potential intra-group trends that could be useful to instructors. Using both Likert-style and open-ended questions, this study explored 38 college students’ experiences engaging in collaborative learning during COVID-19 both individually and at the intra-group level. Overall, students’ experiences were positive both academically and socially, though some experienced challenges such as freeloading and online connection issues. For most groups, there were one or two students who had negative experiences, but these issues seemed to be individual and not indicative of a group-level problem. The study introduces an intra-group approach to collaborative learning research. Its findings suggest that instructors should apply collaborative learning pedagogies to enhance students’ learning and social connectedness. Instructors could further improve students’ experiences by identifying and solving common issues (e.g., freeloading, technical difficulties) by surveying students or encouraging them to share these difficulties with the instructor.
Click here to read the corresponding ISSOTL blog post.
Anghel, Ella. 2022. “Let’s Do this Together: Do the Quantity and the Quality of Collaborative Learning Predict Achievement among College Students?” Active Learning in Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1177/14697874221120783.
Bandura, Albert. 1986. Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Bastian, Mathieu, Sebastien Heymann, and Mathieu Jacomy. 2009. “Gephi: An Open Source Software for Exploring and Manipulating Networks.” In Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media 3 (1): 361–62.
Burdett, Jane, and Brianne Hastie. 2009. “Predicting Satisfaction with Group Work Assignments.” Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice 6 (1): 70–81. https://doi.org/10.53761/22.214.171.124.
Capar, Gulfer, and Kamuran Tarim. 2015. “Efficacy of the Cooperative Learning Method on Mathematics Achievement and Attitude: A Meta-analysis Research.” Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice 15 (2): 553–59. https://doi.org/10.12738/estp.2015.2.2098.
Cabrera, Alberto F., Jennifer L. Crissman, Elena M. Bernal, Amaury Nora, Patrick T. Terenzini, and Ernest T. Pascarella. 2002. “Collaborative Learning: Its Impact on College Students’ Development and Diversity.” Journal of College Student Development 43 (1): 20–34.
Congleton, Adam R., and Suparna Rajaram. 2011. “The Influence of Learning Methods on Collaboration: Prior Repeated Retrieval Enhances Retrieval Organization, Abolishes Collaborative Inhibition, and Promotes Post-collaborative Memory.” Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 140 (4): 535–51. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024308.
Fauville, Geraldine, Mufan Luo, Anna Carolina Muller Queiroz, Jeremy N. Bailenson, and Jeff Hancock. 2021. “Nonverbal Mechanisms Predict Zoom Fatigue and Explain Why Women Experience Higher Levels than Men.” Available at SSRN 3820035. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3820035.
Frei-Landau, Rivi, and Orit Avidov-Ungar. 2022. “Educational Equity amidst COVID-19: Exploring the Online Learning Challenges of Bedouin and Jewish Female Preservice Teachers in Israel.” Teaching and Teacher Education 111: 103623. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2021.103623.
Gemmel, Philipp M., McKenna K. Goetz, Nicole M. James, Kate A. Jesse, and Britni J. Ratliff. 2020. “Collaborative Learning in Chemistry: Impact of COVID-19.” Journal of Chemical Education 97 (9): 2899–904. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c00713.
Giel, Lisenne I.S., Gera Noordzij, Lisette Wijnia, Liesbeth Noordegraaf-Eelens, and Semiha Denktaş. 2021. “When Birds of the Same Feather Fly Together: The Impact of Achievement Goal Compatibility in Collaborative Learning.” Educational Psychology 41 (1): 79–98. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443410.2020.1787352.
Hodges, Linda C. 2018. “Contemporary Issues in Group Learning in Undergraduate Science Classrooms: A Perspective from Student Engagement.” CBE—Life Sciences Education 17 (2): es3.
Jeong, Heisawn, Cindy E. Hmelo-Silver, and Kihyun Jo. 2019. “Ten Years of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning: A Meta-Analysis of CSCL in STEM Education During 2005–2014.” Educational Research Review 28: 100284. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2019.100284.
Karantzas, Gery C., Michelle R. Avery, Susie Macfarlane, Alexander Mussap, Gregory Tooley, Zoe Hazelwood, and Julie Fitness. 2013. “Enhancing Critical Analysis and Problem-solving Skills in Undergraduate Psychology: An Evaluation of a Collaborative Learning and Problem-based Learning Approach.” Australian Journal of Psychology 65 (1): 38–45. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajpy.12009.
Khosa, Deep K., and Simone E. Volet. 2014. “Productive Group Engagement in Cognitive Activity and Metacognitive Regulation during Collaborative Learning: Can It Explain Differences in Students’ Conceptual Understanding?” Metacognition and Learning 9 (3): 287–307. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11409-014-9117-z.
Kirschner, Femke, Fred Paas, and Paul A. Kirschner. 2011. “Task Complexity as a Driver for Collaborative Learning Efficiency: The Collective Working-Memory Effect.” Applied Cognitive Psychology 25 (4): 615–24. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.1730.
Ku, Heng-Yu, Hung Wei Tseng, and Chatchada Akarasriworn. 2013. “Collaboration Factors, Teamwork Satisfaction, and Student Attitudes toward Online Collaborative Learning.” Computers in Human Behavior 29 (3): 922–29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2012.12.019.
Laal, Marjan, and Mozhgan Laal. 2012. “Collaborative Learning: What Is it?” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 31: 491–95. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.12.092.
Lei, Man, and Jane Medwell. 2021. “Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Student Teachers: How the Shift to Online Collaborative Learning Affects Student Teachers’ Learning and Future Teaching in a Chinese Context.” Asia Pacific Education Review 22 (2): 169–79. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12564-021-09686-w.
Ludlum, Marty, Michael Conklin, and Andrew Tiger. 2021. “Group Projects in Higher Education: How Demographic Factors Affect Student Perceptions of Grading, Leadership Roles, Assessment, and Applicability.” Journal of Higher Education Theory & Practice 21 (1).
Machemer, Patricia L., and Pat Crawford. 2007. “Student Perceptions of Active Learning in a Large Cross-Disciplinary Classroom.” Active Learning in Higher Education 8 (1): 9–30. https://doi.org/10.1177/1469787407074008.
Mamas, Christoforos. 2018. “Exploring Peer Relationships, Friendships and Group Work Dynamics in Higher Education: Applying Social Network Analysis.” Journal of Further and Higher Education 42 (5): 662–77. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877x.2017.1302568.
Mamtani, Harkishan, Ruta Karaliuniene, Renato de Filippis, and Sachin Nagendrappa. 2022. “Impact of Videoconferencing Applications on Mental Health.” BJPsych International 19 (1). https://doi.org/10.1192/bji.2021.40.
Marks, Melanie Beth, and Abigail H. O’Connor. 2013. “Understanding Students’ Attitudes about Group Work: What Does this Suggest for Instructors of Business?” Journal of Education for Business 88 (3): 147–58.
Nokes-Malach, Timothy J., Michelle L. Meade, and Daniel G. Morrow. 2012. “The Effect of Expertise on Collaborative Problem Solving.” Thinking & Reasoning 18 (1): 32–58. https://doi.org/10.1080/13546783.2011.642206.
Nokes-Malach, Timothy J., J. Elizabeth Richey, and Soniya Gadgil. 2015. “When Is It Better to Learn Together? Insights from Research on Collaborative Learning.” Educational Psychology Review 27 (4): 645–56. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-015-9312-8.
Oducado, Ryan Michael F., Maria Teresa R. Fajardo, Geneveve M. Parreño-Lachica, Jestoni D. Maniago, Paulo Martin B. Villanueva, Ma Asuncion Christine V. Dequilla, Hilda C. Montaño, and Emily E. Robite. 2022. “Is Videoconference ‘Zoom’ Fatigue Real among Nursing Students?” Journal of Loss and Trauma 27 (5): 490–92. https://doi.org/10.1080/15325024.2021.1950987.
Omodan, Bunmi Isaiah, and Olugbenga A. Ige. 2021. “Sustaining Collaborative Learning among University Students in the Wake of COVID-19: The Perspective of Online Community Project.” International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research 20 (1): 356–71. https://doi.org/10.26803/ijlter.20.1.20.
Rajaram, Suparna, and Luciane P. Pereira-Pasarin. 2010. “Collaborative Memory: Cognitive Research and Theory.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 5 (6): 649–63. https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691610388763.
Rizvi, Saman, Bart Rienties, and Shakeel Ahmed Khoja. 2019. “The Role of Demographics in Online Learning; A Decision Tree Based Approach.” Computers & Education 137: 32–47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2019.04.001.
Salim, Jonathan, Sutiono Tandy, Jannatin Nisa Arnindita, Jacobus Jeno Wibisono, Moses Rizky Haryanto, and Maria Georgina Wibisono. 2022. “Zoom Fatigue and Its Risk Factors in Online Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Medical Journal of Indonesia 31 (1): 13–19. https://doi.org/10.13181/mji.oa.225703.
Samara, Omar, and Anthony Monzon. 2021. “Zoom Burnout amidst a Pandemic: Perspective from a Medical Student and Learner.” Therapeutic Advances in Infectious Disease 8: 20499361211026717. https://doi.org/10.1177/20499361211026717.
Sangin, Mirweis, Gaëlle Molinari, Marc-Antoine Nüssli, and Pierre Dillenbourg. 2011. “Facilitating Peer Knowledge Modeling: Effects of a Knowledge Awareness Tool on Collaborative Learning Outcomes and Processes.” Computers in Human Behavior 27 (3): 1059–67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.05.032.
Schlesselman, Lauren S., Jeff Cain, and Margarita DiVall. 2020. “Improving and Restoring the Well-being and Resilience of Pharmacy Students during a Pandemic.” American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education 84 (6). https://doi.org/10.5688/ajpe8144.
Simms, Ashley, and Tommy Nichols. 2014. “Social Loafing: A Review of the Literature.” Journal of Management 15 (1): 58–67.
Skinner, Kay Lesley, Sarah J. Hyde, Kerstin McPherson, and Maree D. Simpson. 2016. “Improving Students’ Interpersonal Skills through Experiential Small Group Learning.” Journal of Learning Design 9 (1): 21–36. https://doi.org/10.5204/jld.v9i1.232.
So, Hyo-Jeong, and Thomas A. Brush. 2008. “Student Perceptions of Collaborative Learning, Social Presence and Satisfaction in a Blended Learning Environment: Relationships and Critical Factors.” Computers & Education 51 (1): 318–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2007.05.009.
Sung, Yao-Ting, Je-Ming Yang, and Han-Yueh Lee. 2017. “The Effects of Mobile-Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning: Meta-analysis and Critical Synthesis.” Review of Educational Research 87 (4): 768–805. https://doi.org/10.3102/0034654317704307.
Sweeney, Arthur, Scott Weaven, and Carmel Herington. 2008. “Multicultural Influences on Group Learning: A Qualitative Higher Education Study.” Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education 33 (2): 119–32. https://doi.org/10.1080/02602930601125665.
Talan, Tarik. 2021. “The Effect of Computer-supported Collaborative Learning on Academic Achievement: A Meta-analysis Study.” International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology 9 (3): 426–48. https://doi.org/10.46328/ijemst.1243.
Voiklis, John, and James E. Corter. 2012. “Conventional Wisdom: Negotiating Conventions of Reference Enhances Category Learning.” Cognitive Science 36 (4): 607–34. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1551-6709.2011.01230.x.
Wang, Xiaomei, Sudeep Hegde, Changwon Son, Bruce Keller, Alec Smith, and Farzan Sasangohar. 2020. “Investigating Mental Health of US College Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Cross-sectional Survey Study.” Journal of Medical Internet Research 22 (9): e22817. https://doi.org/10.2196/22817.
Zhu, Chang. 2012. “Student Satisfaction, Performance, and Knowledge Construction in Online Collaborative Learning.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society 15 (1): 127–36.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Ella Anghel
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.