Collaborative Learning

Collaborative Learning refers to the grouping and pairing of learners for the purpose of achieving a learning goal. It is a learning in which the learners at various performance levels work together in small groups towards a common goal. The learners are responsible for one another's learning as well as their own. Thus, the success of one learner helps other students to be successful.

Collaborative Learning is a relationship among learners that requires positive interdependence (a sense of sink or swim together), individual accountability (each of us has to contribute and learn), interpersonal skills (communication, trust, leadership, decision making, and conflict resolution), face-to-face promotive interaction, and processing (reflecting on how well the team is functioning and how to function even better).

Proponents of collaborative learning claim that the active exchange of ideas within small groups not only increases interest among the participants but also promotes critical thinking. There is persuasive evidence that cooperative teams achieve at higher levels of thought and retain information longer than learners who work quietly as individuals. The shared learning gives learners an opportunity to engage in discussion, take responsibility for their own learning, and thus become critical thinkers.

“It is through the talk that learning occurs."
Collaborative Learning develops the sense of working together efficiently and being proactive and quick. Instead of simply absorbing material, learning rules, and displaying the material and rules on demand, students learn to develop capabilities that they first experience in assisted or collaborative learning situations.

Benefits of Collaborative Learning: -
  • Develops higher level thinking skills
  • Promotes student-faculty interaction and familiarity
  • Increases student retention
  • Builds self esteem in students
  • Enhances student satisfaction with the learning experience
  • Promotes a positive attitude toward the subject matter
  • Develops oral communication skills
  • Develops social interaction skills
  • Promotes positive race relations
  • Creates an environment of active, involved, exploratory learning
  • Uses a team approach to problem solving while maintaining individual accountability
  • Encourages diversity understanding
  • Encourages student responsibility for learning
  • Involves students in developing curriculum and class procedures
  • Students explore alternate problem solutions in a safe environment
  • Stimulates critical thinking and helps students clarify ideas through discussion and debate
  • Enhances self management skills
  • Fits in well with the constructivist approach
  • Students develop responsibility for each other
  • Fosters and develops interpersonal relationships
  • Students are taught how to criticize ideas, not people
  • Sets high expectations for students and teachers
  • Promotes higher achievement and class attendance.
  • Students stay on task more and are less disruptive
  • Greater ability of students to view situations from others' perspectives (development of empathy)
How does online Collaborative Learning take place?
Web 2.0 technologies have opened new possibilities for content creation, participation, and social engagement.

Learning through collaborative means offers an interactive learning experience that constantly evolves. Learning through collaboration develops individual’s ability to reason out and solve queries/doubts and encourages the practice of learning with evolved understanding. Virtual classrooms integrate collaborative methods of learning -at offices, meeting spaces and virtual schools, leading to exciting new approaches which involve peer-to-peer learning and instructor-led help while involving each student on an individual level.

Digital media allow for nearly ubiquitous access to people and to virtually infinite amounts of information, as well as new forms of sociality, play, creativity, social activism, networking and collaboration.

The collaborative learning is extremely useful, considering its purpose for developing a storehouse of knowledge for the students. In virtual classrooms, students ask questions to the professors whenever they have doubts and the professors or the fellow students respond to them. In synchronous mode, students are able to have real time discussions on their doubts/ queries. In case a student is absent during the discussion, the questions/comments discussed are sent to him as a post in asynchronous mode. This tool is beneficial to clarify the doubts in a personalized and comprehensive format.

Collaboration makes learning process - interesting, innovative and synergistic.

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