Collaborative learning and teaching: reflections on a facilitated journey

Ayshe Talay-Ongan*, Trish Edmonds, Maree Gosper, Margaret McNaught

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This report summarises the first year of an innovative and multilayered teaching and learning collaborative experience within the context of an undergraduate unit in early childhood. The facilitative influence is two-fold: (a) generic information skills training (GIST) project which is a joint initiative between the Institute of Early Childhood (IEC), the Library and the Centre for Flexible Learning to teach information literacy skills which are contextualised within the unit presentation mode, its requirements and assessment tasks, and (b) redesign of the unit from a former third-year level to a first-year level to incorporate the notion of problem-based, collaborative teaching and learning. Many challenges were faced by those involved in the unit in its first year, mainly class size and heterogeneity of student levels, incorporation of technology into learning and teaching, and flow of information for smooth operations for students, the teaching team and Library staff. Multilevel collaborations were central to this experience, and examples of student-student, student-teacher, and teacher-staff collaborations are provided. The first of the 2-year cycle of the GIST project has generated substantive data, as has the implementation of the unit in an innovative format. The complexity and challenges presented in the unit seemed to account for student withdrawal of about 25% in the first month; final evaluations are obtained from 292 students. Survey results presented here are both from the withdrawn students, as well as those who completed the unit. Modifications to the delivery of the unit in its second year and ways of strengthening the communities of learners and teachers towards a common goal are briefly reviewed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)97-104
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Early Childhood Teacher Education
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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