Collaborative learning refers to the collaboration of students or teachers in peer-to-peer or group constellations. The focus is on a joint processing of a task in which the goal is to find a consensus or the solution together.
The method is generally based on four principles: learner centering, interaction, group work and solving real problems. In addition to improving the motivation and performance of learners, a key aspect of collaborative learning is that it strengthens openness to diversity by bringing learners in contact with people with different socio-demographic backgrounds.
Can be both digital and non digital. For digital, e.g. WiKi, Etherpad.
One classic scenario for collaborative learning is to collaboratively create and edit online content, e.g. wiki. This can be used for example to prepare seminar papers in teams or for project coordination and documentation within groups.
Using tools that allows revision control helps students to document their learning and working process in structured way. This also allows teachers to see and understand the working process of the students. Collaborative creating and editing of online content promotes an exchange of content as well as process related aspects.
Especially in spatially distributed teaching scenarios or in events with high numbers of participants, tools like wikis can be used to promote exchange and group work among the students through informal communication.
Students can be stimulated to communicate by providing a catalogue of questions, e.g. “Which participants speak more than one foreign language?”. This question is placed in an online collaboration environment and the students have the task of specifying at least one student for each question.
The students get to know each other better, which strengthens cooperation and group identity.
However, collaborative writing can be challenging for students, who report a feeling of loss of ownership of their contributions to the collective document. This is well documented by Caspi and Blau (2011). Teachers should be aware of this, discuss it with the students prior to the task and come to an agreement on how to deal with it, both during the task and with respect to assessment.
Different assessment methods can be chosen, depending on the scenario, e.g.
Wikipedia – Collaborative learning
Cornell University – Examples of Collaborative Learning or Group Work Activities
Teach thought – 20 Collaborative Learning Tips And Strategies For Teachers
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