A Comparison of the Effectiveness of Collaborative Learning and Individual Learning

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Group work is a way to organize classroom activity where students are given a group assignment from the teacher and where the students’ level of participation depends on how they engage in the group task (Chiriac & Frykedal, 2011). For example, if students work cooperatively or collaboratively, then students within the group will have an increased learning retention and increased critical thinking (Chiriac & Frykedal, 2011). Bennett and Dunne (1992), and Galton and Williamson explain that cooperative group work occurs when students divide the work load in a group and each individual completes a different part of the assignment. Consequently, cooperative learning may result with no interaction between students in the group.
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Nevertheless, some teachers are unwilling to incorporate group work as an instructive tool in the classroom (Chiriac & Frykedal, 2011). Gillies, and Boyle (2010) and Granstrom (2006) agree that activities involving interaction are required when students work in groups; this may result in some teachers losing control of their students (as cited in Chiriac & Frykedal, 2011). “Finally, previous negative experiences of using group work in the classroom may be the final conceivable explanation” (Chiriac & Frykedal, 2011). These negative experiences include a louder classroom and difficulty controlling the class (Chiriac & Frykedal, 2011). Whatever the reason, students are deprived of potential and possible growth in the classroom by learning individually as opposed to collaborative learning (Gokhale, 1995).

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this qualitative case study is to discover if collaborative grouping in classrooms compared to individual work promotes increased critical thinking and an increased learning retention (Chiriac & Frykedal, 2011). Eighth graders from Pine Mountain Middle School will be instructed to work in collaborative groups and individually. The challenge for 8th graders will be incorporating the designing feature of Solidworks to design a skateboard. After completing the challenge, students will be graded based…