Generic skills and collaborative learning in tertiary education: An empirical examination of student perceptions

Gordon Brooks*, Elizabeth More, Julian Leslie

*Corresponding author for this work

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Cooperative and collaborative learning - learning in small groups - is generally considered an effective learning approach with benefits including learning gains and personal enhancement. Successful group activities, however, assume competence in a number of skills. Identification of the particular skills that students need to successfully negotiate collaborative learning is imperative in preparing students for these activities. However, the contemporary student body in many developed countries is becoming increasingly diverse. This empirical article seeks to identify whether undergraduate students from different countries and language backgrounds have different perceptions of the relative importance of Ehrman & Dornyei's generic sub-skills. A cohort of students who completed a first-year undergraduate management subject were surveyed. Analysis of 266 responses identified the skills that students consider most important and demonstrated that the different student groups held the same perceptions of the importance of the 25 skills considered. The implications and benefits for preparing students for group work are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-438
Number of pages9
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Publisher 2009. The original article can be found at Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author and according to publisher conditions. For further reproduction rights please contact the publisher at


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