In my experience the student mostly do think collaboration as the same as group work – which even I thought before participating in ONL221 course. With group work I mean a group of students have a task, that they split in minor tasks for each individual and puts it together in the end for a common group result. After the webinar at ONL and our discussion in PBL group I realize is not group work in traditional meaning when we talk about collaborative learning, but something different.

According to Pallof and Pratt (2005, referred ton in Brindley et al., 2009) collaborative learning develop critical thinking skills, reflection and transformative learning and also leads to new knowledge and meaning when we co-create together.

Biggs and Tang (2011) write about social learning that according my interpretation is one form of collaboration. Biggs and Tang (2011) means that different learning methods, such as writing, listening and teaching some one else combined with each other for exempel in a group, gives students possibility to reflect from different perspectives and deepen their skills about the subject but also about their own learning.

Students that value flexibility don’t like group works, because it limit their possibilities for flexible study hours, but they also will lack the value of group-learning by assessing (Bindley et al, 2009).

According to FIRO theory about group development we always strives for same role in every group we participate, e.g. person that takes leader role in one group is more inclined to do that in other groups (Schutz, 1958, www.thehumanelement.com). During this ONL course I observe in my PBL group how different people took different role depending on which members of the group were participating. Persons that might be more quite took more space when we were few for example.

Anyhow, different learning styles can be accompanied more easily because effective collaborative leaners values diversity (Brindley et al, 2009)

Bindley et al. (2009) means that not graded group work can lead to deeper learning, the difficulty is to find the way to make students understand “a new way” of working together. I think that requires that the assessment or group works we give students are constructed so they will provide collaboration instead of that each student is making their part of the work. But how to make that it’s a further question.


Biggs, J. & Tang, C. (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University. (4th edition). Open University Press.

Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M. & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3). https://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/675/1271

FIRO. https://www.thehumanelement.com/firo-theory/

Collaborative learning