Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gyant, LaVerne

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


Innovation and creativity are the “competitive edges” needed for businesses, government agencies, universities, communities, and private individuals to “stay and feel alive” and compete in our global world. Collaborative learning allows the birth of new kinds of thinking and new perspectives. Regardless of age, gender, race, and academic background, innovation and creativity through collaborative learning allows any individual, group, and organization to “jump start their batteries” and create something new. For this research study, I discovered what collaborative learning is, how it works, and what allows collaborative learning to occur.

In this qualitative study, I explored how a group of local university music students (N=12) utilized collaborative learning during a university music ensemble course. Data were collected primarily through semi-structured one-on-one interviews and classroom observation.

The major emergent themes of this study fall into five categories: (a) collaborative learning solves problems/develops new ideas; (b) informal learning fuels collaborative learning with new ideas; (c) cooperative learning helps others to learn difficult ideas; (d) reflection improves collaborative learning; and (e) group (team) dynamics/leadership creates a welcoming environment. Further analysis of these themes revealed various findings; one example is that learning and working with others allows an individual to gain new ideas and new perspectives.

The findings and conclusions led to recommendations to increase collaborative learning practices and outcomes. My wish is for this research to assist leaders in collaborative learning in the areas of improved innovation, creativity, and educational management.

Keywords: Collaborative learning, innovation, informal learning, cooperative learning, reflection, group dynamics/leadership


256 pages




Northern Illinois University

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In Copyright

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