Topic 3 – Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning

Let me start my reflections by giving out real-life experience related to networked collaborative learning. This might not directly related to teaching but definitely a learning experience for me.  

So me and one of my collogue was asked to write two project proposals to get funding for our post-doc research. we had to come up with a 12-page document within two weeks that covers so many aspects related to the project including comprehensive budgeting, time plan, companies, and how collaboration is achieved between industry and academia. For both of us, it was the first time we had to do such a task and did not know where to start and what expectations to be full filled. The first thing we did was asking around from our colleagues who also have written similar applications before. So we had a couple of discussions with them and got their project proposals as a guide to help us in writing. This gave us an accelerated start that ultimately helped us to finish the proposal well within the deadline. In the proposal, we had to write about our academic environment for about 2 pages. We both decided that we do this part of the proposal together since it was common for both of us. The end result was something that we would never have imagined. If we would have written it individually, it would not have been this good. Working together helps us to come up with nicely written two pages about our academic environment. Sharing ideas, build upon someone’s idea further, having a different perspective on the same idea are some of the key benefits that could be achieved by collaborative learning. The things you could do with one finger is less than the things that you could do with all the fingers combined!

The simple experience that I shared above shows the positive side of networked and collaborative learning. However, if you are a teacher, and want the students to encourage to do networked collaborative learning through group work, be prepared for some challenges. The articles by Jane & Christineand Neus & Margarida discuss this nicely. Most of the things that we discussed within our PBL group as also in line with their findings. Infect PBL group is also fitting to this collaborative learning. They highlight 7 key strategies that one could consider to improve the quality of these group works. When relating to the ONL course and PBL groups, I could see the teachers have thought about these strategies and implement them in the ONL. Thus, we are able to function in a better way in this course.

Topic 3 – Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning – Reflections by Chamara