learning (CL) as an educational approach to teaching and learning, is not a new
concept. In my current practice, I have used CL in several modules as a
teaching/learning approach as it allows for learners to converse with peers, listen
to different perspectives, articulate and defend their ideas (Laal & Laal,
2012). With CL, I have seen the shift in from the traditional teacher-centric
to a more learner-centric milieu in classroom education. 

Image result for teacher centered approach

I have witnessed how students have used technology
and social media to stay connected and foster collaboration. Today’s learners
are apt at using technology: smart phones, tablets and laptops and social media
tools such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagramare second nature to them. Taking technology
out of the learning equation would be alienating an integral part of the learners’

For me, I will admit, my real experience of
collaborative learning was with my PBL group in the ONL course. In the ONL
course, I have been introduced to not only collaborative learning, but also to networked
collaborative learning (NCL).  NCL is not
an educational process that is merely supported by computer network.  NCL is a process underpinned by a network of
inter-relationships that link participants in the learning process (Trentin,

inter- relationships help the group to collaborate to meet specific learning
outcomes. We are cognisant that everyone
in the group has strengths and weaknesses, but the advantage is each member
complementing another and working together the group is able to compensate for
each person’s weaknesses.

In my ONL learning, using social media tools for professional development was a new and positive experience for me. I think it is amazing and motivating to find passionate educators engaged in discussion on Twitter chats and live webinars. The accessibility of these tools and lively discussions makes them very useful and practical for both my personal and professional development. I had never considered that my professional learning experience could be so rich, extended beyond my University.

I will summarise that my NCL experience as


Laal, M., & Laal, M. (2012) Collaborative
learning: What is it? Procedia- Social
and Behavioural Sciences
, 31,491-495.

G. (2006). Networked collaborative learning in university teaching. Educational Technology, 46(5), 20-25.


Topic 3: Learning in Communities: An Experience with Collaborative Learning