Collaboration: The Game Changer – The Hindu


The pair-based learning methodology has multiple benefits for students, both inside and outside the classroom.

The pair-based learning methodology has multiple benefits for students, both inside and outside the classroom.

For a very long time, courses in India have been classified into two poles: the group and the personal. The effectiveness of both was gauged by the number of students vying for a tutor’s attention, with solitary lessons taking precedence. What we have neglected to consider, however, is the dynamic between interacting students and its impact on learning. Fortunately, we are starting to catch up.

The phrase “pair-based learning” may be a recent invention, but the philosophy has made its way into the programming world. The central, rather simple idea behind the software development technique of “pair programming” is the improved achievement of results when two programmers work in pairs, rather than independently.

Pair programming improves outcomes by allowing room for fewer mistakes and increasing optimized thinking, through partner review, exploration, and questioning. It also amplifies knowledge sharing and information flow between partners. As a result, the problem is solved more efficiently and both partners learn more than they would have working alone.


It’s not hard to see why a growing number of educators have begun to adopt this technique to improve student learning outcomes. In the context of education, pair learning means working together to answer questions, complete projects, or solve problems. Student interactions have often been viewed as an extraneous and even undesirable variable in lectures. But as educators around the world increasingly examined the impact of these interactions on learning outcomes, the benefits of working in pairs or small groups became clearer.

First, the broad perspective. When two students discuss a theory or concept, not only do they learn to logically defend their own arguments, but they are also exposed to opposing points of view. They are able to develop a more holistic understanding of a topic, with facts from both sides of the argument in their learning repository. Not only does this build knowledge, but it also helps develop essential non-academic skills such as empathy.

A second benefit is sharper focus. Some may scoff but, contrary to popular belief, two students working together can lead to better concentration. By maximizing the need for participation and introducing an element of competitiveness, pair learning makes each student more attentive to the learning process.

The third benefit is improved problem solving skills. To be truly effective, learning must translate into an improved ability to think critically and solve problems in real time. All boosted by learning in pairs. By evaluating different angles of the same problem, brainstorming with a partner, finding flaws in potential solutions, and discussing the power of those they approve of, a student gradually becomes a more effective problem solver.

Finally comes the undeniable significance of personality development. Students don’t just need to memorize the theories of the subject to be successful. They also need to know how to relate to others, assert themselves and express their opinions with confidence. Again, the pair learning methodology allows students to express themselves with better learning outcomes.

Collaborative learning has the potential to be a game changer in the education sector. If methodology gains momentum as a classroom strategy and as an area for further research, the benefits will only multiply for both students and educators.

The author is the founder and CEO of Lido Learning.


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