Collaborative learning can be a great challenge for many persons when looking from the perspectives of the students, as well as the teachers. Competence of collaboration is the ability to work in teams, and it has been pointed out that social intelligence, openness and advisory skills play an important role (Ehlers, 2019, 2020). When the collaborative learning takes place online, in network environment, the challenges to collaborate increases. Universities offers programs with online courses, but it is not always clearly explained what it means to study online and that the collaboration with others is even more significant when studying online. In fact, some students may apply to online courses to avoid collaboration with others.

      Universities offering online courses should clearly explain the benefits of collaborating for student learning, such as that collaborative learning deepen students own learning, develops learning skills, and increases a sense of community. Moreover, teamwork skills are developed, which is a positive outcome for many professions. Collaboration is not the same as “group-working”, but it is about sharing each person´s knowledge and experience. Collaboration is an important concept related to leadership, flexibility, responsibility, productivity, responsiveness and constructive feedback. Teachers should carefully choose learning activities or tasks that are best performed by a group and benefits from teamwork. Prior to learning activities, a careful explanation could be presented that the purpose is also to learn to work together.

      Technology is central in enabling networks for learning processes, but also the ability of a person to use the technology. It is much about the individuals ability to act self-organized in relation to an “object dimension”. The object-related skills, also called instrumental skills, are important for future learning and teaching. As teachers in relation to the technology, we need to develop agility, creativity, tolerance for ambiguity, digital literacy and ability to reflect (Ehlers, 2019). How technologies could enable networks for learning processes need to be predetermined, that is, what the purpose is with the network activities. 

      The presence of computers and various digital platforms, both in universities and communities, has increased since 1990´s. This has led to that learning nowadays takes place more in digital forms (National Research Council, 2000).Therefore the knowledge is important about how technology can support learning, for example different tools can help students to solve problems. Yet, it is not fully understood that computer-based technologies can be powerful pedagogical tools and how we could use them in our teaching. The technology can be seen as rich sources of information, as well as extensions of human capabilities and contexts for social interactions supporting learning (National Research Council, 2000). I believe that there is much to be learned about using technology and the potential of it, however universities and software developers need to work together.


Ehlers U-D. (2020). Future Skills- The Future of learning and higher education. Books on Demand, ISBN: 978-3-750-49426-8.

Ehlers U-D,  Kellermann  SA. (2019):  Future  Skills – The Future  of  Learning  and Higher education. Results of the International Future Skills Delphi Survey. Karlsruhe. Available from:[accessed Apr 26 2020].

National Research Council. (2000). How people learn: brain, mind, experience and school: Expanded version. Washington, DC: The National Academic Press., Ebook: 978-0-309-13197-1.

Topic 3 Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning