Collaboration can be an effective means of learning, but is it effective in domains where collaborators rely on conceptually distinct forms of reasoning? We explored this question in the domain of evolution, where many students construe evolution as the uniform transformation of all members of a population rather than the selective survival and reproduction of a subset. College undergraduates (n = 174) completed an assessment of their evolutionary reasoning by themselves (pretest) and with a partner (dyad test); some (n = 44) also completed an assessment several months later (posttest). Higher-scoring partners pulled up lower-scoring partners to achieve a dyad score equivalent to the higher-scoring partner's pretest score. Lower-scoring partners retained a score boost when working alone at posttest. These findings indicate that students who hold different views of evolution are able to collaborate effectively, and such collaboration yields long-term learning gains for partners with lower levels of understanding.

This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (