Initially the theme of this topic seemed a bit off to me, and I found it hard to see the relevance. However, discussing the concept of collaborative learning proved very valuable, and having thought about this and related it to cooperative activities has actually proved useful already. Though I still don’t think that we should put so much effort on discussing the concept of diversity in relation to collaborative learning, I have come to realise that a certain difference in backgrounds among the participators will support collaborative activities.

While cooperative activities are useful for certain kinds of activities, and e.g. time efficient as they allow for a clear division of tasks, I believe that collaborative activities, while in general more time-consuming are more conducive to a deeper learning experience. The key to this is the “joint intellectual effort by students or students and teachers”, as expressed in a definition of collaborate learning by The University of Sydney (2018). Learners participate together with focus on a common goal that is reached through a joint effort that makes use of all participants’ understanding of the task at hand, arriving at a result that reflects and combines the knowledge and experience of all participants.

However, both designing and teaching through a collaborative approach and taking part in collaborative learning activities as a student may require an adjustment in how the educational situation is viewed. Azer has discussed collaborative learning in a series of articles, where useful lists of tips have been defined, e.g. the ones below:

Twelve tips to tutors:

  1. Ask your group to identify their ground rules in the first tutorial
  2. Discuss with your group the different roles they may play
  3. Build trust and encourage bonding of group members
  4. Do not dominate group discussion but rather facilitate the process
  5. Be a role model for your group and monitor your teaching
  6. Encourage understanding
  7. Foster critical thinking and enhance the group’s ability
  8. Ask open-ended questions
  9. Promote group dynamics
  10. Solve problems in the group with a win–win approach
  11. Provide feedback that builds the group
  12. Tell them about your roles

    (Azer, S. 2005)

Twelve tips to students:

  1. Keep ground rules
  2. Know your roles
  3. Keep your group dynamics
  4. Ask empowering questions
  5. Be a purposeful learner
  6. Without feedback there would be no champions
  7. Monitor you own progress
  8. Strive to be a winning team
  9. Be a critical thinker
  10. Know the roles of your tutor
  11. Turn to the winning attitude
  12. Be a collaborative learner

    (Azer, S. 2004)


Azer, S. (2005) Challenges facing PBL tutors: 12 tips for successful group facilitation. Medical Teacher, 27:8, 676-681.

Azer, S. (2004) Twelve tips becoming a student in a PBL course: twelve tips for successful group discussion. Medical Teacher, 26:1, 12-15.

University of Sydney. (2018). Collaborative Learning. Available:  (Last updated: January 11 2018. Accessed: November 29 2019).

Topic 3