“Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting”.    
 Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society


I was able to experience this in
all our webinars and PBL group meetings. It is such an exciting experience
because everyone comes there to learn from each other. Everyone has something
to share. I remember, at certain times, we all did not have the same
perspective, and it is truly interesting to look at something in some other
person’s point of view which you had never even thought of. Another aspect that
adds value to this nice collaborative experience is the fact that we all are from
different countries; that means different cultures. I was the only one from Sri
Lanka and my colleagues were from various parts of the world such as Sweden, South
Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Singapore, etc.

Once I remember, we were
discussing the frustrations we had at the beginning in terms of online
collaborative learning. For me, I was frustrated the days I was not prepared
for the meetings. Also, at the very beginning I did not want to be very open
because I did not know the others personally. I was scared that being too open
might result in misunderstandings. But later, we sort of discussed openly even our
weaknesses because we were able to build up an open and relaxed platform for

As Johnson et al. (1990)
suggests, there are five basic elements in collaborative learning: clearly
perceived positive interdependence, considerable interaction, individual
accountability and personal responsibility, social skills, and group
self-evaluating. I believe our group had these elements, at least to a certain
extent. There was freedom for each and every one of us to express ourselves;
so, I believe we were able to engage in successful and constructive discussions.
We evaluated our work regularly. I admit that there were certain times that I
failed in terms of personal responsibility. It was so difficult for me to
manage my time; so, there were times I did not attend meetings even without
prior notice. And I also understood that almost everyone in our group were so
busy, and most of them, I would say, struggled with finding time.

Another study I found on online
collaborative learning was Ku et al.’s study (2012) that discusses three
collaborative factors based on learners’ perspectives. They are team dynamics,
team acquaintance and instructor support. In our PBL group, I believe, all
these collaborative factors were involved. We had a dynamic team, very
supportive facilitator and co-facilitator, and of course we got acquainted well
with each other (though not very much at the very beginning). Therefore, I
could say that our group had a very effective learning platform where
unhampered participation resulted in learning.


Johnson, D.W., Johnson, R.T.,
Stanne, M.B. & Garibaldi, A. (1990). Impact of group processing on
achievement in cooperative groups. J Soc Psycho,
130 (4), pp.507-516.

Ku, H., Tseng, H.W., Akarasriworn,
C. (2012). Collaboration factors, teamwork satisfaction, and student attitudes
toward online collaborative learning. Computers
in Human Behaviour,
29, pp. 922-929.

Online Collaborative Learning