Learning with Others: A Study Exploring the Relationship Between Collaboration, Personalization, and Equity - Final Report
What does it mean to personalize learning? Does personalized learning look the same for all students? A personalized learning approach aims to offer “learning experiences that customize education to an individual’s personal needs and interests as well as connect the individual to adults and peers in a larger community of learners.”
Emerging trends suggest that personalization is often equated with individual learning. This approach to personalization often relies heavily on the use of technology to enable students to learn independently and progress at their own pace. To truly personalize, we must recognize that students vary in their needs for social support and exchange.
This report describes the findings from a study designed to examine how collaboration is linked to personalization and explore racial/ethnic differences in experiences and benefits associated with collaboration.
The study posed three research questions:
- What are the relationships among opportunities for collaboration, classroom experiences, and outcomes, particularly for students who identify as Black?
- To what extent do students have opportunities to participate in high-quality collaborative learning experiences?
- What contextual, school-level factors do teachers identify as helping or hindering their ability to provide opportunities for high-quality collaboration in diverse, student-centered classrooms?
Our study findings showed that, for all students, reports of high-quality collaboration were strongly associated with positive classroom experiences and mind-set/dispositional outcomes such as motivation, engagement, and self-efficacy. Moreover, high-quality collaboration was strongly associated with students’ perceptions of personalization—and personalization, in turn, was strongly associated with outcomes.
For Black students, collaboration was also associated with higher grades, even after accounting for their prior academic performance. Focus group discussions revealed that Black students perceived less relevance in collaborative activities, more frequent experiences of exclusion and marginalization, and lower support from teachers during collaborative group work than did non-Black peers.
Findings from this study suggest that collaborative experiences could be among the factors that contribute to positive changes in the academic trajectories of Black students, particularly when these opportunities reflect high-quality features. Thus, schools and educators aiming to address equity through personalization should consider increasing opportunities for high-quality collaboration.
Final Report and Supporting Documents