Something that I noticed recently between my three nieces (in class XI, XII and freshman year) triggered a thought, and then led of a bit of research and finding out. One rather warm afternoon, my nieces were spending time trying to crack puzzles published in puzzle books and newspapers. One of them started on her own, the second one joined in. Gradually the eldest one got bored of watching TV and joined the younger ones.
The progress that the made together was remarkable compared to the slow start that the first young one made. It is also not as if the first one is less sharper than the other two. Very clearly three heads working together are better (you knew that), and three heads working together learned the mechanics of cracking the different types of puzzle schemas rapidly as well.
They moved from one puzzle type to the other, and cracked through rapidly. It also was evident that each of them excelled in a particular type. The gaps in understanding were filled in by the other two.
In the usual school education system, students interact with their teachers and parents. Parents and teachers interact with each other periodically, but there is hardly any formal education related interaction that students have together even sitting in a school.
This led me to do the quick search and research on the web, and not surprisingly plenty of research has been done in the past on collaborative learning. While, I read through research work, I also asked myself if children would collaborate as much if what they learned gave them a competitive edge over her/his peers.
To be continued...