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Collaboration in education is certainly not a new idea. Assigning students to classes has always created a potential framework for collaboration among students. In higher education particularly it is not unusual for students to organize study groups in order to help each other learn. But public education has tended to focus on individual learning, even to the point of making learning a competitive enterprise, a zero-sum game. In Active Learning the trend is away from these practices, at least to some extent. For the most part authentic Active Learning activities involve collaboration, almost as a trade mark.
Social Constructivism, Piaget, and Vygotsky
Active Learning grows out of Social Constructivism, a theory generally attributed to Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget and Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Constructivism is a metaphor that likens building knowledge to building a house. The learner builds new knowledge by attaching it to existing or previous knowledge, very much like building an addition onto a house. (more…)