Teamwork increases student learning and career success

Nov 02, 2007
 Teamwork increases student learning and career success
Students use notes, books and each other to improve learning in the classroom. Credit: Elsa Sanchez

A two-year study of college students at The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) proves that students learn better and develop higher-level skills by participating in cooperative (team) activities, compared to traditional classroom teaching methods.

Elsa Sánchez and Richard Craig, professors in the Department of Horticulture at PSU, surveyed students enrolled from 2003-2005 in their Plant Systematics course. The specialized course was designed around a cooperative learning model that required students to work in teams on a variety of activities. For example, students organized a learning fair for elementary school students, participated in hands-on laboratories and worked in randomly assigned teams for their final exam.

"We were interested in learning students' perceptions and sharing our experiences. We found that students liked the cooperative activities and learned from other team members. As instructors, we found that students participated more in the lecture part of the course as team activities were completed.", Sánchez stated.

The study has additional implications for how teachers prepare for and deliver classroom instruction. Sánchez noted "it took more organization and planning to use cooperative activities compared to the traditional lecture method", and added that lectures are far less conducive to facilitating higher levels of thinking than cooperative learning strategies. Student outcomes of class participation showed an increase in several indicators of higher-level thinking, such as application of concepts and analysis and synthesis of information.

"While traditional lectures transfer knowledge, lectures are far less conducive to facilitating higher levels of thinking, such as application of concepts and analysis and synthesis of information." - Dr. Elsa Sánchez

Using cooperative activities also allows students to practice skills that will enhance their future careers, including communication, conflict resolution, creativity and time management. Sánchez sees benefits of using collaborative processes that extend beyond the college classroom, noting that "students benefit from practicing real-world skills that they will need after graduation, and the industry will benefit from future employees who possess skills that promote success."

Source: American Society for Horticultural Science

Explore further: Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Driverless shuttle will be on the move in UK

54 minutes ago

(Phys.org) —"Autonomous public transport" is on the minds of planners who envision self-driving vehicles that would cross over short distances, suited for airport transport, industrial sites, theme parks ...

Superfish points fingers over ad software security flaws

3 hours ago

A little-known Silicon Valley startup was caught in a firestorm of criticism this week for making software that exposed Lenovo laptop users to hackers bent on stealing personal information. But Superfish Inc. ...

Huge spring tides draw crowds to French Atlantic coast

22 hours ago

France kicked off nearly a month of exceptionally large spring tides Saturday, as tourists flocked to coastal areas to witness spectacularly high water levels ahead of the so-called "tide of the century" ...

Recommended for you

Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'

8 hours ago

A total of 1.6 billion people worldwide – nearly a quarter of the global population – are forced to pay bribes to gain access to everyday public services, according to a new book by academics at the Universities of Birmingham ...

How music listening programmes can be easily fooled

Feb 26, 2015

For well over two decades, researchers have sought to build music listening software that can address the deluge of music growing faster than our Spotify-spoilt appetites. From software that can tell you ...

Nature journal to begin offering double-blind peer review

Feb 23, 2015

Well known and respected journal, Nature, will begin next month offering researchers who submit their work for peer review, the option of having it done via the double-blind method—whereby both submitters and re ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.