Collaborative learning (CL), a core component of inquiry-based learning approaches, aims to support students’ development of key skills (e.g., working in multidisciplinary teams). To design effective CL activities, we need to understand students’ perceptions about CL. However, few studies have examined students’ understandings of CL. This qualitative study aimed to address this gap by analyzing participants’ constructions of their CL experiences. Focus group data (14 first- and 14 fourth-year dental student volunteers) were analyzed by an inductive thematic analysis strategy. The findings explained students’ perspectives of key factors for facilitating positive learning within an inquiry-based CL context, namely having a “right” mix of students and facilitating balanced participation and interactions, especially questioning, explaining, and managing knowledge conflicts and understanding their thinking processes when learning.



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