Collaboration-Reflections

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An interesting topic 3 brought the real life world into the academic space. In the academic space we traditionally listened, read and wrote much. If we did not master these skills we were classified as failures. However, our insights into collaboration in the ONL made me think that learning also occurs when we share, critique and develop stuff together. This is how the real world works. These insights now enable me to understand how some people are very skilled but do not have formal educational qualifications. The topic also made me think about the following: Can a person learn by collaboration alone? Is collaboration on the total opposite to individual learning? Will collaborative learning be the answer to developing graduates with real work skills so that they can be productive quicker? Many of them are not work-ready when they leave university/ college. Is collaboration the same as team work? How does it affect and is affected by introverts, shy persons, language, cultural and other barriers? As I continue the readings, webinars, and video-clips I am sure the answers will emerge.

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Author: Shifting Sands of Learning

Lecturer, Teacher, Human Resource developer

10 thoughts on “Collaboration-Reflections”

  1. Thank you for sharing some interesting thoughts! Maybe collaborative learning seems too easy and enjoyable, when we are used to learning requiring more of an effort? My thinking is that maybe this is not an effect of the online medium, but rather a different and more modern approach to learning and knowledge in general.

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    1. Interesting point – although I think that some people think that collaborative learning does not require less of an effort, but in fact is a lot harder, and that learning by yourself is less frightening and easier because you don’t have to relate to other people in the same way – e.g. if you are very shy or extremely introvert. Although, I think if that is the case, collaborative learning might be a really good experience (although very frightening). But it must be a challenge to keep such persons committed in a collaborative learning situation perhaps?

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      1. I agree with your reflection. I think the field is quite open for research into throughput, dropout and retention rates for e-learning, on-line learning, flexible learning, open networked learning, MOOCs, hybrid learning, blended learning. Maybe as soon as we can get a handle on and understanding of these “beasts”.

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  2. Whether learning happens individually or socially is investigated by so much research, and returns to how you understand learning to occur. There are several constructivist schools of thought, some arguing learning is social, others that learning is an individual construction. Then there is connectivism, which says that learning happens through the creation of connections and recognition of patterns in the network, and that cognition can rest *outside* the brain – fascinating stuff!! Your questions are ones that are (I believe) almost impossible to answer, and as well has having highly personal responses also will depend upon our own epistemological foundations. Thanks so much for having the opportunity to share in your learning journey; reading your blog has provoked thoughts that have led me to new understandings, so I think learning is definitely collaborative and social – we need others such as yourself to process and create new knowledge. cheers! 🙂

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    1. Thank you for adding the different schools of thought in terms of learning. I think each one is correct and explains it from one dimension which may apply in some scenarios. Maybe the way to understand this complexity is for researchers to combine these to explain learning. Would you say that we have made much advances in the theory of learning as compared to the rapid advances we have made in science and technology?

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  3. Hi Rajesh and everyone who commented!
    This is for sure a very interesting discussion, and one thing that strikes me is that when reflecting/discussing about ONL there are so many aspects/perspectives to consider and sometimes at least I find it difficult to sort out what is what… Like it is both collaborative learning and online learning, two things that obviously does not always come together but here they do and some “effects” might be due to either or them or both, and some things concerning collaborative learning might be at least slightly different depending on if it is online or face-to-face. Do you see what I mean?
    Kind regards Maria

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    1. Yes Maria, this is the reason we wrote about “clearing the fog” in our group essay. Many teachers who are plodding along in the classroom and taking baby steps into the digital space are bewildered by these terms which continue to grow and overlap somewhat.

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  4. Interesting to read about how we learn in collaborative groups!
    There is actually some research showing that students use more effective study techniques when studying in groups compared to when they study alone. For example students tend to test each other on the material when together instead of just re-reading.

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