“Our only plan is to improvise.”

Daft Punk – Fragments of Time (Ugur, 2021)

In today’s connected world, learning is no longer confined to traditional classrooms. Digitally connected communities offer unique opportunities for students to collaborate and participate in social learning. This blog post explores course design strategies that foster collaboration, influence students’ ability to collaborate across courses, and instill an awareness of the value of the learning community. Based on survey results from students around the world, we addressed common concerns and offered our concept of practical solutions.

Survey Results from ONL231_PBL06 – (PBL06, 2023)

“…concerns can be categorized into three main areas: group dynamics, learning process, and preparation and participation. And in a way, what they dislike shows that working in small groups is doing exactly what it is supposed to.”

(Taylor, 2011)

As we have discerned from the extract from Taylor above, students are somewhat expected to face challenges within group work as that is something that is necessary within the Real World, but from the research shown from our survey also shows the areas in which we can apply sight adjustments to not only better the experience of group work but also make it slightly preferred.

How to Achieve This ?

Designing a Course for Collaborative Work

Divide and Conquer:
To ensure equal participation, divide tasks into manageable modules. This allows everyone to participate and fosters a sense of ownership in the community.

Clear goals:
Clearly communicate course objectives and sub-objectives to promote common understanding among students. This clarity forms the basis of effective collaboration.

Balanced grouping:
Create a group with students who have the same level of motivation. This approach helps individual students improve their team skills while encouraging other students to take on more responsibility.

Formalize responsibilities:
Create task contracts and meeting minutes to emphasize the importance of on-time delivery. This documentation ensures accountability and minimizes potential conflicts. 

Influencing Collaboration Beyond the Course:

Encourage informal interaction.
Encourage students to connect on platforms like Discord to build trust and camaraderie. Memes, funny anecdotes, or exciting ice-breaking activities can add a little fun and foster deeper connections.

Technology adopted:
Introducing simple games and interactive tools that demonstrate the power of collaboration. This approach not only makes the learning process fun, but also highlights the benefits of collaboration.

Facilitate discussion and discussion:
Include a final reflective task that engages students in discussion and discussion with other groups. This exercise will sharpen your soft skills, provide different perspectives, and improve your ability to collaborate effectively.

Appreciating the Value of Learning Communities:

Skill-based grouping:
Prior to the start of the course, we conduct a blind survey to determine the student’s skills and strengths. Forming groups with complementary skills helps students understand the value of working together to achieve common goals.

Diverse eligibility requirements:
Design group projects that require different skills and prevent members from doing it all alone. This approach encourages students to recognize the importance of working with collective expertise to solve problems.

Encourage Participation:
Most students prefer group work, but some may be reluctant to participate. Encourage their engagement and help them discover the value of collaboration through exciting challenges and interaction with colleagues. 


Building a collaborative learning community in a digitally connected environment requires more than Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V. Like a master programmer writing a line of code, it requires thoughtful design and active moderation.

Educators can ensure that students do not feel like failures within the matrix by implementing strategies that encourage equal participation. Like any well-optimized algorithm, collaboration must be broken down into manageable modules and managed so that everyone enjoys the glory of coding fairly.

But don’t forget the importance of informal socializing, where students can release their inner nerd and de-stress together. 

Remember, as Helen Keller once said:

“Alone, we can do so little; together, we can do so much.”

– Hellen Keller


Adams, K. (2018) Helen Keller: ‘alone we can do so little. together we can do so much’, The American Foundation for the Blind. Available at: (Accessed: 29 May 2023).

PBL06, V. (no date) Topic 3 group assignment how to design a collaborative work.pptx, Google Slides. Available at: (Accessed: 29 May 2023).

Taylor, A. (2011) ‘Top 10 reasons students dislike working in small groups … and why I do it anyway’, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 39(3), pp. 219–220. doi:10.1002/bmb.20511.

Ugur, – (2021) Best 22 daft punk quotes and lyrics, NSF – Magazine. Available at: (Accessed: 29 May 2023).

Grab the Hammer! We are Building Collaborative Learning Communities in the Digital Age