Individual reflection Valentin Sch

Topic 3: Learning in communities – networked collaborative learning

Learning in communities has evolved significantly in the modern educational landscape, propelled by the advent of networked collaborative learning. Ever noticed how learning can feel more exciting when you’re part of a group? Well, that’s the essence of learning in communities through networked collaborative learning.  It’s like teaming up with friends to solve a challenging puzzle, but in the world of education and more. In networked collaborative learning, individuals come together across geographical boundaries, leveraging technology to engage, share, and co-create understanding as we are doing in the ONL course.


The challenges in collaborative work include motivational issues within groups, superficial collaboration, and potential intercultural barriers. Overcoming these issues involves leveraging intercultural differences for productive collaboration and creating a diverse, trusting environment through icebreakers. The risk of free-riding and over-reliance on certain individuals can undermine collaboration, necessitating an exploration of facilitators and motivations for effective group work. Collaboration offers opportunities for learning diverse skills, new perspectives, and shared knowledge, even in the face of criticism. The design and explanation of tasks play a pivotal role in a successful collaboration, with an important distinction between group work and true collaborative tasks. Techniques for collaboration may vary between groups and should be pre-discussed for clear communication. Conflict resolution is essential, with non-violent communication and awareness of cultural behaviors playing significant roles. Bridging cultural gaps can enhance collaborative learning, though challenges like plagiarism and cheating need to be addressed. Also, reflective questions and literature exploration can guide focused discussions. Collaborative work can take an assembly line approach, promoting interdependence and a sense of contribution to a larger project.

Working group

We tried free applications available for ice-breaking activities during online meetings:

  1. Virtual Whiteboard and Murals: Free virtual whiteboard tools on Zoom that can be used for ice-breaking activities. Participants draw, write, or add sticky notes to a shared canvas, allowing for interactive engagement and collaboration.
  2. Virtual Scavenger Hunt (GooseGame): You can create your own virtual scavenger hunt using a list of common items that participants can find in their surroundings. You can share the list during the meeting and ask participants to show the items on camera, promoting engagement and interaction among participants.We focused our thoughts on online collaborative learning drawing on Wenger´s 4 aspects of learning on our Mural:

    These aspects are Community (as belonging), Identity (as becoming), Meaning (as experience), and Practice (Doing). We started up the discussion by defining each aspect of the mural and how it could work for us. In the next step, we decided to use a collaborative app: Goosechase (, and connected the 4 aspects to our process of collaborative learning. We wanted a different and new way of collaborating asynchronously where we tried to connect all concepts together. Finally, we extended the mural and reflected on how online tools can promote and challenge collaborative learning within our group based on this experience.

    During these activities, we faced the challenges described in the last section and had to go through such as:
    Frustration is a common emotion that arises during Goosegame, mostly because it was a new tool to use, so a matter of digital literacy. However, addressing and managing frustrations openly and constructively can help create a more positive and productive collaborative environment, leading to better teamwork and outcomes.



    To sum it up, networked collaborative learning is changing the game of education. It’s all about people coming together, no matter where they are, to learn and grow as a community. Whether students teaming up online to study, teachers sharing ideas in virtual groups, or even coders from different corners of the world building software together, this way of learning is all about connection and collaboration.

    In a world where our screens bring us closer than ever, networked collaborative learning is like a global classroom where everyone’s a student and a teacher at the same time. It’s breaking down walls and showing us that learning is a shared adventure that’s better when we’re all in it together. So, as technology continues to bridge gaps, networked collaborative learning is paving the way for a future where education knows no boundaries.


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  1. Lotta Fröjdfeldt August 10, 2023

    You describe both the benefits and challenges of collaborative work very well. You also point of how to work with these challenges. You lift the importance of “true collaborative tasks” where we really cocreate knowledge based on the diversity in the group. Then you present some tools for the important icebreaking group activities and connect your thinking to Wenger’s 4 aspects and your group´s ride withing this process. I found this very interesting and of course these tools could be used in other ways in the group process.

    In the end you lift the importance of community building and networking in higher education, both for students and teachers. I couldn’t agree more. But this also makes me wonder: Do we do this enough? Do we need more of this? And if so how do we do that?



  2. Valentin Scheiff August 10, 2023 — Post Author

    Hi Lotta,

    Thank you for your comment,

    Regarding the questions: “Do we do this enough? Do we need more of this? And if so how do we do that?”
    I think I/we don’t do it enough, it is time-consuming, and you need to go out of your comfort zone, and question yourselves and others who could have different thoughts than you. We definitely need more of this, and the pedagogical courses are a good start. At MDU, we need to attend several pedagogical courses, which allows the participants to debate and discuss their methods and give their opinion on many different topics. This is really a place to share ideas and improve your teaching skills. Unfortunately, once these courses are done, it is sufficient to continue in your carrier but this step is very important to just have an update on the pedagogical skills needed. It might be good to go again for the same course some years later and see how things have changed.
    It is again time-consuming, but if the teachers/coordinators are updating their courses, I guess people will be interested to do it again.
    Organizing a new group discussion with the people in the group could also be a good idea, to see how they implemented the new methods in their teaching life. But that means keeping in contact with people and continuing the networking, this is also something challenging as we have only 24 hours a day.

  3. Lotta Fröjdfeldt August 11, 2023

    Thanks for your thoughts upon this. I would also recommend both the colleagues as a base for the continous discussions. Maybe you already have forums like this, otherwize for example the PDK cycle is one model for enhancing this. Another ercommendation for continous personal development is the teaching portfolio and the course belonging to that.


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