Collaborative learning.

I always like to start my articles with brief definitions of the main subject that will be dealt with, but in this post I must first say that so far this was the subject that definitely impacted me most, and possibly that will generate a great transformation in my relationship with education.

Now, follow a short description by Elene4life:

Collaborative learning refers to the collaboration of students or teachers in peer-to-peer or group constellations. The focus is on a joint processing of a task in which the goal is to find a consensus or the solution together.
The method is generally based on four principles: learner centering, interaction, group work and solving real problems. In addition to improving the motivation and performance of learners, the key aspect of collaborative learning is that it strengthens openness to diversity by bringing learners in contact with people with different socio-demographic backgrounds.

The studies on this topic made me realize that not all group work is collaborative work, but there are many cooperative works. They are different aspects, and in cooperative learning there is an individual construction that is later unified into a single work.

In collaborative learning, all group members work together towards a common goal. From this, a number of opportunities are made available to students so that they can develop truly life-changing skills for their lives, as well indicated in the article Creating Effective Collaborative Learning Groups in an Online Environment:

  • Development of critical thinking skills,
  • Co-creation of knowledge and meaning,
  • Reflection,
  • Transformative learning.

Looking at my own experiences, I can now recognize a series of group work that I have participated in that has not been collaborated. My feeling about them is that they were not so helpful. Sometimes they were very painful, because I was overwhelmed, and sometimes they added little because some other colleague was more dedicated.

In collaborative work, I felt much more engaged, motivated, excited to build together with colleagues a knowledge or solution to some problem. I believe the learning has been much greater because together we can get further. Each contribution of a colleague awakens in the other new ideas and possibilities that would not be addressed without the first start.

As I understood this subject, I think I could summarize and define it as follows:

Learning without collaboration: mere division of tasks, less work for each student.

Collaborative learning: Collective work with the same purpose to reach a higher potential that individually could not be achieved.

Already concluding this post, I stress the importance of establishing a strong network for the development of good collaborative learning.

If you want to immerse yourself in a collaborative learning experience, be sure to use the many tools already available, such as zoom meetings, paddlet, google drive…

I end this post with a quote from Napoleon Hill, author of business books. He believed a lot in the power of uniting minds for success in business, but certainly this belief applies in education.

“No two minds ever come together without thereby creating a third, invisible intangible force, which may be likened to a third mind.”

So, in this case, 1 + 1 = more than 2.

To the next.


TOPIC 3 – Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning