What is the future of collaborative learning?

Author: Tony Molloy, European Business Development Manager-Higher Education

Panasonic’s Tony Molloy looks at the growing trend for collaboration in the higher education space

Educational institutions are actively looking for new ways to engage students and improve their offering to increase value for money for students. Having grown up with technology embedded into their daily-lives, Generation Z expect the same from their education. The challenge for any education establishment is therefore keeping students engaged in material and identifying the methods of learning which suit them best.

There has been a clear shift in recent years towards encouraging active rather than passive learning. Panasonic have been one of the front-runners in providing the technological backbone behind this shift towards the so called ‘flipped classroom.’ Traditional in-class activities are carried out independently, freeing up teaching time for more involved discussion and collaborative learning.

Research shows that people remember about 50% of what they see and hear, meaning potentially only half of lecture content is retained by students. Discussion and participation, moves the student from a passive learner into an active one, increasing the amount of information retained by 40 per cent. A new solution, the scale-up classroom (Student-Centred Active

Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programmes), could be set to replace the traditional lecture model, to make way for a more effective and collaborative way of working.

What is the scale-up classroom?

The scale-up* classroom is a physical learning environment that encourages active learning and interactions by positioning small tables, each with their own display, around the perimeter of the room, with one larger projection at the front. Students work on problems or projects in small groups, freeing up the lecturer’s time to wander around and provide clarification or ask questions.

Panasonic recreated the environment at ISE 2019. Scale-up technology, developed with third party partners, used two 12,000 lumens laser projectors (PT-RZ120) edge blended to create the front projection alongside multiple interactive touch displays and live PTZ cameras via a single LAN cable. Content can be projected from the smaller displays to the lead projector as dictated by the lecturer and recorded and accessed later to consolidate learning.

Once synced to a network, content can be controlled remotely and in real-time, offering greater flexibility and the ability to share students work on the bigger screen, enabling group discussion.

*Scale-up means Student Centred Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies

Collaborative vs individual learning

With the cost of education ever-increasing, students are understandably questioning the value for money of their teaching. The concept of lectures, where basic course material is delivered with students filling in the gaps themselves, is arguably outdated in today’s world. The availability of so many sources of information raises questions about the value of purely instructional-style teaching. The scale-up classroom solution replaces the traditional lecture set-up creating a dynamic and collaborative learning experience.

The model relies heavily on peer-to-peer learning and group working to improve understanding. The benefits of such collaborative learning is increasingly being recognised amongst educators. It has been proven to enhance problem-solving skills, challenging students to think more for themselves and also inspire critical thinking. The quality of both learning and individual skill-sets are therefore improved as a result.

It remains to be seen whether collaborative and peer-to peer learning can replace the lecture-model completely but its success and potential is more likely to be realised on a widespread scale when led by technology such as the scale-up classroom.

To learn more about Scale-up classroom, visit this page