This article discusses the benefits and drawbacks of employing collaborative and customized learning in the context of teachers matching each with what they want students to experience and learn. Both cooperative and personalized techniques can be helpful under specific conditions. Practical use, as with all educational approaches, is contingent on teachers’ understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each strategy.
Additionally, teachers must grasp when and how to employ each of these instructional approaches. Some experts suggest using only one of these educational styles. However, collaborative and individualized techniques do not have to be mutually exclusive. In some cases, they may be utilized to complement one another.
Let’s take a look at each approach and go through some of the benefits and disadvantages of each to understand the differences between them better.
Individual learning entails your students studying independently. Students will learn at their own pace with this form of education. They will also study their learning materials and attain their learning objectives alone. This strategy focuses on satisfying each student’s individual educational needs. Individual learning has the following advantages and disadvantages:
1. Creative learning
When you learn alone, you discover numerous methods for the information to stick in your mind. Creativity, like any other skill, is developed with practice, so an autonomous learner’s ability to think beyond the box is well developed. Many self-taught Spanish speakers, for example, picked up the language by viewing TV series and repeating conversations or by listening to songs and translating the words.
2. Tailored learning
Students must comprehend the subject content and be encouraged and motivated to achieve their goals. Individualized instruction makes it easier to determine students’ interests and preferences. Teachers can take advantage of this and adapt their teaching methods accordingly.
A good teacher should be prepared for every eventuality and adaptable and willing to change the lesson plan to meet the particular needs of their students. This is why enrolling in an MA Education program, such as the one offered by the University of Exeter, can be particularly helpful for teachers. Teachers can learn about teaching methods and how to shape the future of education. The program is built around understanding learning as a complex and dynamic process. This knowledge is evident in using collaborative and dialogic learning methodologies in teaching, learning and evaluation.
3. Learning to learn
There is a distinction between memorizing stuff for an exam and understanding the learning process. Students who are not provided with the option for autonomous learning need to understand how to learn or how to explore a principle from various perspectives.
1. Discourages communication
Some believe there are better models for children than individual learning since it hinders communication with other students and social cohesiveness. When children fail to develop basic communication skills, it can lead to significant problems in adulthood. Some youngsters learn better when they connect with others than when they learn alone.
2. Core material
When you’re new to a subject, it might be challenging to know where to start. What papers should I read? Which course should I take? What will be relevant to my job, and what will be white noise? Many self-paced training courses place the onus on the learner to figure out what they need to know. However, individuals may waste time mastering unnecessary material while overlooking the most crucial topics.
Group learning can mean different things, so the best place to start is by defining what we mean by group learning. Although the phrases collaborative learning and cooperative learning are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference.
Collaborative learning emphasizes individual group members’ contributions, emphasizes authority sharing, and leads to discourse and consensus building on problems with no obvious right and wrong answers. Students retain control over group governance and group processing.
Cooperative learning is frequently considered a subtype of collaborative learning that requires more significant instructor intervention. The task and group structure for completing the work are designed by the instructor, including the distribution of duties to group members. Here are the benefits and downsides of group learning.
1. Reduces anxiety
When students work independently, they have just their minds to rely on. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if a student becomes fixated on a topic they don’t understand, they may be too humiliated to seek help from a teacher. One advantage of group learning is the chance to seek peer assistance. Another way group learning activities alleviate anxiety is because the focus is not exclusively on the student or the content.
2. More perspective
The adage “two heads are better than one” has some value. Researchers have discovered that if students can collaborate on a problem-solving task, they are more inclined to try out multiple approaches to accomplish it.
3. Strengthen communication skills
Everyone has a say regarding group learning. Therefore, each member can convey their thoughts and improve verbal communication in a group learning situation.
1. Learning pace
Some people require a varied pace when performing tasks and learning to understand and absorb the knowledge. When working in a group, it appears that someone is either slowed down or pressured to catch up faster than they would prefer. Some groups may move too quickly for one person, causing that person to become disoriented and copy.
While some students flourish in a group situation, others may find it challenging to focus in a group setting. Sometimes the talk veers away from studying and onto casual subjects and current events, which disrupts some students’ train of thinking and leads them astray. In this instance, learning alone may be beneficial, especially if you need to devote your complete attention to the materials at hand.
Which is better?
Individual and collaborative learning are both successful strategies, but they have drawbacks. Consider your preferences, needs, personalities, strengths and weaknesses when deciding on a plan. Only by doing so will you be able to determine which strategy works best for you. However, we encourage, where possible, that you find a happy medium between the two so that no students are overwhelmed by their assignments, and each student can benefit from both types of learning.