This blog post will focus on the third topic of the ONL-course; Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning. I will use the experience from my PBL-group in this course and examples from our cooperation during topics one and two. 

First of all, I’m delighted to be a member of PBL11. Since our first meeting, I’ve felt comfortable with all members and facilitators, which have been valuable in our creative processes. We all have busy schedules but also prioritize our meetings and finish our presentations to the rest of the ONL-members. In my opinion, this is one of the essential factors in collaborative work, engagement from the members. All group members can have different reasons for committing, but without commitment, the result won’t be as good, and frustration would appear in the group. The frustration about varying levels of commitment is something that Capdeferro, N. & Romero, M. (2012) also have seen in their studies. If all of us in PBL11 hadn’t similar situations and commitment levels, it would probably be frustrating for those who committed more than the other participants. 

I started my job at Karlstad university during the pandemic of Covid-19. All courses had been moved from campus to online overnight during the previous semester. Before the pandemic, the department of social studies only had a few online courses, and only a few teachers had taught students online. Many of my colleagues describe that during the first semester, they used the same way of teaching they would have in the classroom on campus. In addition, they said that meaningful assignments for group work were extra challenging online. 

According to Palloff & Pratt (2005), collaborative learning has specific pedagogical benefits. These are developing critical thinking skills, co-creating knowledge and meaning, reflection, and transformative learning. The benefits of collaborative learning are clear, but how can you ensure the learning process will happen in the group? The article by Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M. & Walti, C. (2009) includes suggestions on creating effective collaborative learning. In addition, the article presents that it’s essential to demonstrate the value of group learning by assessing both the product and process. I think that this is a valuable factor for collaborative learning. I can take my own experience from joining ONL as an example. During the first topic, my co-moderator and I expected to make sure our group would solve the scenario rather than focus on the process. Thankfully our facilitators repeated that it’s not the finished product that’s most important. Therefore, I think that our creativity was let free and enabled us to finish the first two topics with excellent results in my eyes. 


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).

Capdeferro, N. & Romero, M. (2012). Are online learners frustrated with collaborative learning experiences?. The International review of research in open and distance learning, 13(2), 26-44.

Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in community. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Reflection on topic 3: Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning.