Implementing collaborative learning in second round review stage in senior high school physics class

Student thesis: EdD Thesis


This study is a real-life case of the localization of collaborative learning at the second round review stage in senior high school physics classes under the background of the new round of curriculum reforms in Zhejiang Province.

Aiming at both the impact of collaborative learning on academic performance and students' perceptions of their experience, this study takes constructive learning theory and social interdependence theory as the main theoretical support and adopts a pragmatic paradigm and mixed methodology. Both quantitative and qualitative data are collected, including results of college entrance examinations from 70 participants, notes from classroom observations, survey data and recordings of 12 semi-structured interviews.

Data analysis revealed that higher academic achievers (HAAs) achieved more progress compared with medium academic achievers (MAAs) and lower academic achievers (LAAs), and among each academic level, participants who participated in heterogeneous groups made more significant progress. In addition to academic performance, this study also finds a positive influence on students' interpersonal ability.

Overall, students approved of collaborative learning as a learning strategy and a teaching pedagogy. They tend to perceive their collaborative partner as one of the most influential factors for learning outcomes, with the focus being on their partners’ academic level, and the concealed reasoning behind this preference could potentially be the role that scaffolding behaviour and cognitive conflict play in learning.

This study also provides insight into theory by exploring the possibility of potential of a drop in academic performance regarding the concept of ZPD as well as discovering ambiguity in the concepts of heterogeneous and homogeneous, thereby enriching the understanding of collaborative learning.

To some extent, this study helps dispel the notion that employing collaborative learning in Chinese high school classrooms is unsuitable, and provides new ideas for its localized practice. Phenomena that are not completely consistent with those in the literature reflect the complexity of the educational world. It shows that practitioner researchers should be very cautious when introducing new theories or pedagogical strategies and the applicability of these theories should be tested through the process of localization and appropriate adjustments should be made.
Date of AwardJul 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Nottingham
SupervisorRobert Adamson (Supervisor)

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