Collaboration requires teachers and learners to come together in a learning space and work on a project or module through a collaborative effort. Collaborative learning has been a trending conversation around eLearning for a while now and it has proven to be effective. One of the obvious reasons is that it engages the learners in the course by offering them social support, which in turn encourages them to pursue the learning journey.
But more importantly, educators should focus on increasing peer-to-peer connections because sharing experiences will bring them new perspectives on a similar level of expertise. The trick is to know how to bring about that engagement. You can include casual conversations in your learning environment through online forums and chatrooms, which a learning management system like Cloud Academy offers. You can also introduce group activities and group projects, which can further be done in rotation.
These are just some of the ways you can incorporate collaborative learning in your online classroom. But how do you use this to enhance the overall eLearning experience? Keep reading to learn more.
1. Continuous feedback
To make any progress, former patterns need to be broken, and that can be facilitated by feedback. Make a place where learners can go to get regular updates on course requirements, schedules, and assignments. Then, turn on comments and let them tell you what they think. Learner feedback will help you improve your methods and course material to suit their requirements. You can also establish a forum, particularly for the learners where they can share feedback on assignments given by their peers, and receive the same for themselves. But make sure to check in as a regulator to maintain order every now and then. Creating these feedback loops is important for collaborative learning because it lets eLearning experiences grow and change in a way that works best for everyone.
2. Encouraging online conversations
It is important to have online conversations but it is equally important to set rules for the same, to ensure nobody is being rude to another individual. We are aiming at a safe and supportive learning environment. You can get more people to take part in online discussions by giving learners incentives, like gamification badges or extra credit. As the learning experience progresses, remove these incentives, and you might be surprised by how much learners still use your eLearning platform to chat and work together, since the culture has been established. Assigning a different person each week to “moderate” group discussions and online debates is also a fun way to mobilize your group.
3. Receive new perspectives on the topic of study
With collaborative learning, it’s easy for individuals to see a subject from a different point of view. They see a different way to learn and talk with other people who are also learning.
As more and more people come online and say what they think about a certain topic, they start to see and think based on their own experiences and cultural beliefs.
That helps them understand and respect each other’s points of view and cultures.
4. Monitoring collaboration techniques during live projects
Here is where the educator can play the role of a moderator and see how well collaboration is coming into practice, whether it needs to be directed or is taking a good route on its own.
It is a good idea to give people space to grow both as people and as learners. It can be fun to give your learners different live projects throughout a learning experience to see the outcomes of collaborative effort. For academic educators, this might be a series of group PowerPoint, and for business educators, it might be a series of group training exercises. You can choose whether or not you want to grade this project but feedback can be made use of. Setting up these kinds of arrangements fosters two-way growth for both learners and tutors.
Continuous practice of collaborative learning will keep bringing more and more positive changes not just in your group of learners but in your eLearning experience too. When your learners come together to solve a common problem, they will feel a sense of togetherness. These team activities will facilitate the development of leadership abilities, project management skills, and teamwork skills. It will also push them to overcome their biases, assumptions, and prejudices to let go of their long-held limiting beliefs, making their eLearning journey all the more beautiful.