University of Auckland logo

Stay informed

Receive updates on teaching and learning initiatives and events.


“Graduates of the University are expected to be able to establish a rapport and build collaborative relationships with individuals and groups.”  – The University Graduate Profile, Communication and Engagement Capability 1

Why ‘do’ collaborative learning?

Collaborative learning can take place peer-to-peer or in groups of students. Research shows that educational experiences that are active, social, contextual, engaging, and student-owned lead to deeper learning.2 It includes discussion, practise, and production. Building on investigation and knowledge acquisition, learners take part in the process of knowledge building.

The benefits of collaborative learning include:

  • Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills.
  • Promotion of student-faculty interaction.
  • Increase in student retention, self-esteem and responsibility.
  • Exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives.
  • Preparation for real life social and employment situations.

TEL in practice – collaborate

Remote learning with Google platforms

Remote learning with Google platforms

Ideas from this case study will be useful if faced with challenges of remote teaching to large cohorts, or if you are interested in creative strategies for motivating and engaging all students.

Small steps

Team-based learning and group work prepare students for real-work dynamics, ways of working and problem solving.


Collaborative learning, which includes sense-making among peers.


Peer-to-peer tutoring (students explain what they’ve learnt to each other).


Think-pair-share / write-pair-share.


Group brainstorming and problem solving.


Six hats technique for problem-solving activity in the classroom. Assigning each thinking style a colour serves as a visual cue to help students recognise the thinking skill they are using.

Fishbowl is a strategy for managing medium to large group discussions. Students are separated into an inner and outer circle. In the inner circle (or fishbowl), students have a discussion; students in the outer circle listen to and take notes.


Buzz groups are small groups of 3-4 students, formed to discuss a topic for a short period. These groups may be assigned the same or different topic to discuss. For example:

  • how much they already know about a topic
  • what they are not sure about
  • what they want the lecturer to cover next


Jigsaw method is a collaborative group activity in which students are interdependent to achieve a common goal. One group becomes the “expert” on specific knowledge and then shares that with another group of students. This activity offers a way to help students understand and retain information while they develop collaboration skills.

Page updated 22/02/2023 (minor edit)

  1. The University of Auckland. “Graduate Profiles.” Updated July 5, 2020.
  2. Centre for Teaching Innovation, Cornell University. “Collaborative Learning.” Accessed November 15, 2022.
Send us your feedback

What do you think about this page? Is there something missing? For enquiries unrelated to this content, please visit the Staff Service Centre

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.