Collaborative work (effective collaboration) forms a significant part of your students’ day-to-day living and their future after graduation. 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration and communication for workplace failures (Fierce, Inc. Survey 2011). Collaboration is derived from the Latin terms ‘col-’ which means together and ‘labor’ meaning toil. Collaborative learning in education has been all about learners, and (at times) an instructor, jointly performing tasks, discussing, and sharing their ideas to enhance learning. Collaborative learning also involves lecturers and students working together to expand their knowledge.
The importance of collaborative learning for your systemResearch shows that active, social, contextual, engaging, and student-owned educational experiences lead to deeper learning (Cornell University, 2021). Other rewarding benefits for learners and instructors are:
- It prepares students for real-life social and employment situations.
- It increases participants’ exposure and understanding of inclusiveness and diverse perspectives.
- Students and lecturers gain higher-level thinking, oral and written communication, self-management, time-management, and leadership skills.
- Learning through collaborative techniques increases a student’s ability to process and retain information, and student-faculty interaction.
Tips to make it effectiveCollaborative learning relies on buy-in, so for beginners, The primary focus is to build a learning space with familiar and common grounds so your participants can be vested, and willing to share with your system. Here are a few things to bear in mind when collaborating online;
- Build trust: Trust is essential for any interaction. So, be it trust in the participants’ confidence in either their ability, benefit or control over the content or the environment. Ethical & emotional trust sustains the connection required for tangible impact. Hence, participants should trust that their involvement matters and their school’s management and teachers will be intentional on fair and equal grounds, starting from their tasks; how it is delivered, the communication or access point and how it accommodates their diverse styles and needs.
- Promote open communication: One thing is paramount in an online collaborative space, participants need to respect and appreciate each other’s viewpoints. Instructors’ focus should be on interaction, tasks being diverse, challenging the exchange of viewpoints, and training their groups on the value of multiplicity in thought.
- Learn with scenarios: Actively learning is becoming a consistent culture incorporated to both work and general lifestyle, with daily commercial content tools and communication tools like chats, blogs, network communities, daily knowledge platforms and sharing techniques, making it possible. It’s more practical to draw real-life connections for learners on online teaching, so any collaboration learning void of practical tools and scenarios drains the impact of your learning environment.
- Peer-Tutoring – Features such as groups, debate, team assignment, peer assessment, etc allows the implementation of a variety of collaborative instructional examples for team-based learning.
- Peer-Collaboration – Collaboration tools such as chat, email, audio and video call, blog, forum, wiki for users to explore hands-on, real-life collaboration workspace and work tools in day to day business communication.
Modified from Cornell.edu | Image credit: shutterstock