After reading the articles related to Open Networked Learning. I’ve found that the opinion of others reflects my own experience. In my experience, the completion of collaborative tasks meant either very little reflection for my efforts in group-based work or carrying a big portion of group work while others would benefit from my individual effort.
My experience has taught me that social loafing is a thing. Many people feel that they don’t need to make as much effort in group work because others will pick up the slack or that their efforts won’t make a big impact in the bigger scheme of things. In the setup of group work or collaboration, especially in post grad studies, myself and other group members would divide the main project into smaller projects. Each person would be responsible for a section of the project in order to meet the group deadline.

This worked well to get the project “over the line”, but did very little for collaborative learning, none of the team members would brainstorm and gain knowledge on the individual sections of the others in the group.

on the group work, this may not necessarily have been the best setup for any
individual in the group. Taking the route of actual collaborative learning,
where each section was addressed and discussed by the group would have been
more beneficial and insightful to everyone involved. This would have “bettered”
the transfer of knowledge and understanding of all. The discussion factor as
we’ve done consistently in our ONL journey could have made things easier on my
previous team projects and may even have helped more people pass and grasp
concepts which were missed.

Touching on Personal learning networks (PLN’s), mine has been an interesting journey. My PLN’s was mainly colleagues also completing their post graduate studies in science. Some of my PLN’s were people at higher and lower levels. The people in higher levels were often the one’s I could approach to gauge an understanding of requirements or how things are done and why. This crowd was essential for bettering my understanding of requirements and my complete understanding of projects we were part of and would run.
I’ve often given the same types of insights to students at lower levels also completing their studies in science. Their questions and understanding of issues faced gave me insight into their level and would help me phrase responses and explanations which would make sense to them. In my academic career, I’ve not had much exposure to online collaboration, but in my experience with ONL I’ve had the opportunity to explore different technologies and online tools that makes online discussions and collaborative learning more effective.

Each to their own in PLN’s, everyone uses their PLN differently depending on their needs, desires and interests. I’ve used mine to drive my academic career, completing my studies and getting simpler explanations than those typically provided in textbooks. My PLN would often be able to provide me with practical concepts and applications thereof. Others may use their PLN to drive personal interests, not their academics as I have.

Since the completion of my studies, my PLN has evolved to mentors in the professional sphere that gives guidance and advice of work-related topics etc. This is testament to PLN’s constantly evolving and suiting the current and future needs of every individual at different stages in their journey of life. One thing is for sure, each individual should utilize their PLN to progress and self-betterment.

Experiences with Collaborative Learning