From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments
Collaborative learning is an educational approach that promotes interaction among students, as well as between students and teachers.
Examples of Collaborative Learning
In a study conducted by Lage, Platt, and Tregalia, collaborative learning was incorporated into an introductory microeconomics course through the use of economic experiments in class (examples can be found under How to Incorporate Collaborative Learning), through the promotion of group work in and outside of class, and through the integration of student presentations on economic topics.
After the course, a survey was conducted where students rated various aspects of the course on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). "The statement "The experiments illustrated basic economic concepts" received an average score of 4.2 (35)." In addition to this, the students' feedback comments included the following statements:
"I really liked the demonstrations and the group work - they helped me to really see the concepts, much better than a lecture would, and I could better visualize something I'd seen rather than heard-that was a big plus for tests (35)."
"As for the class itself, I loved the way it was run! The groups were very effective-it helped to have your peers explain things to you in a different way that sometimes made more sense. Also, it was easier to get to know your classmates and made for a very comfortable environment. I liked the "hands on" approach (35)."
Instructors also provided positive feedback after the study. "Both instructors also noted that students generally enjoyed working together and seemed to learn from having other students explain concepts in different ways...In general, students were more comfortable asking questions in class, probably because of the many opportunities for one-on-one interaction with the instructor...From the instructors' perspective, the course was considerably more stimulating to teach...(37).
How to Incorporate Collaborative Learning
- Conduct economic experiments in class. Lage, Platt, and Treglia incorporated one economic experiment which consisted of the following: "For instance, a simple experiment consisted of holding an auction for a can of cola. Bidding began at five cents and increased in five-cent increments; count was taken of how many people wanted to buy the can at each price (33)." Another example of a possible economic experiment to conduct in class can be seen in the following table:
|Course:||Micro, Health Economics, Public Economics|
|Level:||Intermediate and up|
|Subject(s):||Asymmetric information and adverse selection|
|Objective:||To illustrate that asymmetric information leads to adverse selection.|
|Reference and contact:||Mellor, Jennifer M. "Illustrating adverse selection in health insurance markets with a classroom game." Southern Economic Journal, October 2005, Vol. 72, No. 2, pp. 502–515.|
|Abstract:||Students take on the role of health insurance buyers and sellers. In part one of the game, there are two buyer types: high-risk and low-risk. Early periods are played under full information while later periods are played under asymmetric information conditions (in which sellers must sell their policies to all buyers at the same price). In part two of the game sellers may offer two types of health insurance policies: moderate coverage and generous coverage. As before, the early periods are played under full information while later periods are played under asymmetric information.|
|Class Size:||Groups of 10 to 35 students.|
|Time:||One 75-minute period to run both parts of the game|
|See also:||Information games|
For more possible economic experiments go to http://www.marietta.edu/~delemeeg/games/.
- Promote group work. Encourage students to work in groups both inside and outside of the classroom.
- Integrate student presentations. Allocate a portion of class time to student presentations either concerning assigned material, such as worksheets and problem sets, or to specific economic topics related to the material taught in class.
A key aspect of this study was the difference in results between male and female students. "For female students, the mean scores on the statements "I believe I learned more in this format," and "The experiments illustrated basic economic concepts" were higher than for men in our sample. In addition, on the average, female students self-reported greater satisfaction with the worksheets and in-class experiments. Both instructors also noted that women were clearly more active participants in class than in the traditional classroom (37)."
Inverting the Classroom: A Gateway to Creating an Inclusive Learning Environment Maureen J. Lage, Glenn J. Platt and Michael Treglia The Journal of Economic Education Vol. 31, No. 1 (Winter, 2000), pp. 30-43 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1183338
Teaching Introductory Economics with a Collaborative Learning Lab Component Robert L. Moore The Journal of Economic Education Vol. 29, No. 4 (Autumn, 1998), pp. 321-329 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Article Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1182922