Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Promoting Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning amongst learners can be a fulfilling experience in an online environment.  The concept of collaborative learning is to bring a group of individual learners together to achieve a common learning objective. In this setting, each individual is responsible for a specific role or function in moving the group to a common goal. The advantage of collaborative learning is the shared experiences that the group shares and the critical thinking that takes place as a result. In addition, learners are challenged in ways that are present in individual activities.

In collaborative learning environments, learners engage with peers, present and defend ideas, and exchange diverse perspectives that promote a new knowledge framework. However, collaborative learning can present several challenges that can compromise the team’s success. Conflicts can arise which will stunt the team’s progress. Furthermore, learners who have limited experience in a collaborative setting may struggle in this social setting.

Assignment:  In this week’s assignment, perform an Internet search on collaborative learning techniques in an online environment. As you search various articles and resources, make note of the advantages and disadvantages of collaborative learning. Once complete, use cited sources from your Internet search and your own personal experiences to answer the following questions:

1.  What benefits and challenges do you foresee with collaborative learning in an online environment?   List at least 2 benefits and 2 challenges.

2.  Why are effective communication techniques important in this type of setting?

3.  In what ways should collaborative learning be used?

4.  What determines a group’s success in collaborative learning environments?


  1. Janea,

    I enjoyed reading your post and agree that there are certainly advantages and disadvantages within collaborative learning. I promote collaborative learning in my classroom a lot and find that my students are more engaged with great discussions and the critical thinking skills are more obvious opposed to when they work independently. I found a great article that breaks down several advantages and disadvantages of collaborative learning. The link is:

    I can certainly relate to the fact that I have to keep a close ear on several of the discussions as there are times when the students get off topic. "It is difficult for the teacher to be sure that the groups are discussing the academic content rather than something else" (Transition to Beginning Teaching, N.D.). I find it is best to put at least one student in the group who I can count on to stay on task.

    I look forward to learning and reading about what other classmates have to say about your post.

    Thank you for sharing,


    References: retrieved on April 17, 2015

  2. "The advantage of collaborative learning is the shared experiences that the group shares and the critical thinking that takes place as a result"


    Really like this quote. As I have said in many of the discussions I think the coolest thing about these online programs is the diversity of opinions and perspectives the students bring because of our physical separation. I view that as a pro not a con as many might argue.

  3. I agree Janea, and I really enjoyed your discussion post on your blog as it encouraged me to look further into the advantages and disadvantages of collaborative learning. I have never facilitated collaborative groups in an online setting so I can only speak from a learner's perspective. There are certainly challenges for the instructor and learners but I think the pros outweigh them.