A COLLABORATIVE LEARNING LAB: DOES THE FORM MATTER?
Taggert J. Brooks
A. Wahhab Khandker
A recent paper found that adding a collaborative learning lab (CLL) component to a traditional introductory microeconomics class significantly improved students' scores on a standardized final exam. Here, the authors reconsider these results in two fundamental ways. First, this article is able to include student-specific factors, such as standardized test scores and age, to control for a student's desire and ability to perform. These results suggest that they slightly underestimate the gains from CLL classes. The second question addressed concerns the implementation of the CLL component. In the original work, the CLL class contained only 24 students in class (small-CLL). This paper introduces the CLL component into a class with 48 students (largE-CLL). The authors found students attending a large in-class CLL failed to perform significantly better on a standardized test than students attending classes without an in-class CLL. They also performed significantly worse than students in a small-CLL environment. This article suggests that a CLL can improve scores if care is taken to both maintain an environment that maximizes student-instructor interaction and monitors student collaboration. Copyright 2002 Western Economic Association International.
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