Better Together: The Benefits of Collaborative Learning

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By nature, the study and practice of psychology tends to be a solitary venture. We sit, one-on-one with our clients and try to guide them towards greater self-awareness and self-satisfaction. Even our jargon sounds solitary! At the end of the day, we go home to our loved ones and act as if we are secret government agents who can’t say anything to anyone…unless we kill them, which, of course, we wouldn’t.

Now, what would you tell a client whose job demanded so much independence and secrecy? That they need some balance, right?

Exactly!

As it turns out, the perfect place to bring some togetherness into our profession is through the way that we learn new information. For more on this, let’s look at some of the findings of Drs. Richard Felder, and Rebecca Brent, both of whom have spent decades studying the nature of learning. Drs. Felder and Brent have found that students who study together enjoy a plethora of advantages, including:

  • Higher academic achievement
  • Better high-level reasoning and critical thinking skills
  • Deeper understanding of learned material
  • Lower levels of anxiety and stress
  • Greater intrinsic motivation to learn and achieve
  • Greater ability to view situations from others’ perspectives
  • More positive and supportive relationships with peers
  • More positive attitudes toward subject areas
  • Higher self-esteem

Interestingly, the positive effects of learning together help people individually (on the inside), and in their interactions with others. For example, students who learn together learn “Positive Interdependence,” where team members are obliged to rely on one another to achieve the goal. If any team members fail to do their part everyone suffers consequences. But, at the same time, they also learn, “Individual Accountability” because all students in a group are held accountable for doing their share of the work and for mastery of all the material.

Working together also helps people learn to give each other appropriate feedback. Sure, as therapists, we know how to do this with our clients, but, giving feedback takes on a different dynamic with a fellow student. (Yes, the argument could be made that we are all fellow students of life, but you know what we mean!)

Alright, that’s the science, but what about the fun? All of us have to do continuing education anyway, so we may as well make it enjoyable, right? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a regular group of professionals to meet with? Folks who speak your language and with whom you could knock out those pesky CEs?

Our aim at Therapy Hive is to provide professionals with access to other practitioners to bounce ideas off of. We are working on getting a group together that will meet monthly for CE classes. Of course, you don’t have to come to all of the classes in order to join, you can just do the ones that interest you. You do you!

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, contact us at Therapy Hive! Your gateway to great professional relationships starts with us!

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