The benefits of collaborative online learning
Whether you are learning online or face-to-face, there are many benefits to collaborative learning.
Throughout this topic your exploration of collaborative learning will be informed by the framework outlined by Laal and Ghodsi (2012). You can read the full text here
Discover some of the benefits of collaboration:
- Active collaboration will allow you to build an effective support system during your studies. You and the other students on your course will have a different perspective on each topic, as well as different strengths and interests.
- Expand your understanding of the topic by drawing upon the ideas, perspectives and experiences of the other students on your course. In turn, share your own experience of the topic and what it means to you personally. By doing so you help to form a learning community – a positive environment where everyone recognises their shared goal (to learn) and supports each other in doing so.
- By sharing ideas with others you can develop confidence in your own knowledge and skills. If you give support to others you will receive support in return. You will also gain affirmation of your understanding.
- Recognising and sharing any difficulties you might be having can help to reduce your anxiety. You might find others who can help explain a concept you are struggling with or who are sharing the same difficulties. Collectively you can talk through the idea or approach the course tutors for further support.
- Working collaboratively can help you to develop a positive relationship with your tutors. You might think of your tutor as a co-learner and supporter of your learning, rather than ‘the expert’.
- Working collaboratively can help you to develop your critical thinking skills. Discussing your ideas and arguing your point can help you to think critically about the course content and resources. It also gives you the opportunity to assess other learners’ ideas and opinions.
- Collaborative learning puts you at the centre of the learning process. Rather than passively ‘absorbing’ information you are taking an active part in your learning and that of the other students on your course.
- By sharing your response to particular challenges and by understanding how others respond, collaborative learning helps to model the appropriate problem solving techniques for your studies. You can then apply these techniques to similar problems.
- You may be required to complete a piece of group work as part of your course assessment. Practicing effective collaboration throughout your studies will allow you to contribute positively in a group setting and understand how groups can work together successfully.