This is a series of blog posts about my learning activities in the
Open Networked Learning (ONL202) pedagogical course.


Collaborative x network learning

There is a great challenge in current higher education in achieving collaborative learning. In most cases, group activies are designed in a way that the level of engagement between students vary considerably. In online courses, the situation is even more critical as digital literacy may hinder some student’s participation. In this context, teachers play an important role in designing the courses and activities to foster a collaborative and active participation of the students, promoting learning in communities through joint, fun steps.

The pedagogical training provided at Aalto University has been an eye-opening for the benefits of network and collaborative learning. Especifically, the
ONL202 activities have demonstrated the feasibility of real collaborative learning through the problem based learning (PBL) groups led by two facilitators. The interesting feature about ONL202 is we construct our knowledge based on the experiences shared by our teammates and through the process of accomplishing the necessary tasks. We not only support the work of our colleagues (cooperation) but we also build together (collaboration) solutions to common learning problems.

Working in a research group in a University, my Personal Learning Network is strongly populated with my work peers. Luckily, I also have strong learning connections with my parents and relatives. Both my parents and many of my close relatives are teachers, which created in my childhood an environment based on learning activities.

One special link that is part of anyone’s learning network is the internet. Nowadays, the new standard is to learn through the myriad of content, e.g., videos, blogs, openly available in the internet. Therefore, technological advances and the building up of social networks have enabled the expansions of our own personal learning network beyond our daily circle. Looking from outside, openness and sharing are the pillars of network learning in current society. But it’s important to note that collaborative activies are necessary in higher education. For the differences between collaborative and network learning, check the slide below prepared by our PBL group 1.

Learning in communities

Towards collaborative learning

We (PBL group 1) prepared a few slides with some relevant tips for designing courses to encourage students to collaborate, work in groups, and a few strategies to support teachers when implementing collaborative learning. Feel free to take a look at it

  1. Group 6 members: Victor Souza, Mohit Gupta, Kinaz Al Aytouni, Marcus Stensmyr, Stephanie Birkner, Hui-Chen, Erik Elfgren, Vigdis Ahnfelt, Charlotta Hilli, and Cecilia Hellekant. ↩︎

Topic 3: Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning