Song of this day
In short about past times, when there was different paradigms concerning collaborative working. Everything is always questioned, and so is this field of study. There was problems like is collaborative learning really more effective than individual learning (effect-paradigm)? Then what factors does affect the conditions of collaboration (condition-paradigm)? And third thing which concerned the researchers was that what interactional processes occur in collaborative learning (interaction-paradigm)?
1. Defining collaborative learning
Well, our reminding discussion answered some of researchers worries by asking “what is collaborative learning and what is it not?”
+ It is shared understanding (sharing is caring). It is all about creating and sharing knowledge, and get the understanding of what everyone want to achieve. There must be interaction to create collaboration, but interaction can appear even without collaboration.
– It is not individuals searching for information and trying to build an own understanding about the task. No sharing no caring, trying to be only one succeeding is not constructive in long sight and it will not build your teamwork skills (which are in fact widely needed in almost every job in the future). Sharing ideas with others brings new ideas!
Collaboration is a very special type of interaction. The question is what factors affects the success of collaborative learning, or, which factors are related to social interaction?
What affects collaboration:
- Self-regulation, personality and the way of reflection
- Motivation and emotional orientation (empathy towards others, own feelings)
- Pre-knowledge (remember, same level knowledge brings rarely new ideas)
- Communication skills
- Listening skills
What you can do for better collaboration:
- know your groupmembers – informal and formal learning – trust
- take account to the different goals
- discuss, discuss, ask and discuss!
- help peers
- have groupmembers with different backgrounds, this may result bigger ideas!
- give and receive critical feedback (in good spirit ❤ )
The roles in groups molds automatically, by keeping these
ideas in head you might get a balanced group
that will result in excellent products!
2. Educational dimension of collaborative learning
Collaboration is as its best when everybody presents challenging questions that forces to participate. It is also good to keep up good team spirit, or in other words the WE CAN DO IT -attitude!
High level of collaboration= everyone is in and has something to do
Developing level of collaboration= try to tell your own ideas but won’t listen to others
Low level collaboration= individuals only tell their own ideas and gets back to them during the conversation (technology may help the teacher to see how the group is discussing and do they really have some kind of interaction. Doing this the teacher can participate for a while and get the group in right direction)
Successful collaborative learning has both group- and task-related discussions. Since CSCL is a common way to work, interaction online is also a part of many groupworks. This can happen synchronous, which means communicating and sharing in real-time (skype, chat), or asynchronous, when the conversations are first fully written, then sent and stored. Asynchronous gives pupils time to think about what they want to share (for example, I don’t publish a post in my blog before it is done). Teacher’s/educators role is to offer the best learning environments for students, and the groups can also compromise what they want to use.
Teacher/educator: Why is it important to understand the basic mechanisms of collaborative learning?
- The result can seem good, but can be done only by one person. This can be prevented by having the same questionnaire for everyone, to get everyone see some point in participating. If not any this kind of final exam, then the teacher can at least make a questionnaire about how everyone felt about the groupwork, level of collaboration and the final product.
- Even is the educator don’t need collaborative way of working, he/she should definitely be almost an expert in it to teach it forward to pupils. How can they do it otherwise if they have never heard about it? Then let them apply the knowledge.
These things doesn’t mean students should become independent
from the teacher/educator, but they should be a part of
building the information with the others.
Teacher is more like a guide.
3. Social psychological dimension of CL
Group dynamic has 5 phases: forming, storming, norming, performing and ending.
Groups are formed, then while storming members discuss the task and increase their common understanding. Then they decide how they work (norming), and what their rules and roles are (performing). They start working, and at the end they achieve their goal together.
Individual in a group gives always his/her own spice to the group. Also the group factors affect how the group is working. 5-6 members is a ideal amount of people, and it’s good if everyone feels that they need each others. Competition is not collaboration!!
The environmental factors that can affect the way of working is the physical distance, learning task and the tools that are available.
Challenges in group work is that there might be free riders, or students who are socially loafing thinking they don’t need to do so much. Sucker effect might also appear, that happens when there are too many free riders or bad team spirit – he/she declines doing anything.
How to improve groupwork, to avoid freeriding/social loafing, and how to anhance positive group processes?
- Shared rules and respecting them
- And again: self-regulation (affects everything!)
- Try to understand why someone is freeriding, or if someone actually is freeriding (maybe learns best by listening)
- discover if problem is caused by individual or the groupsystem
- Try to have everyone involved, so one does not feel he/she couldn’t do anything (someone is pushing through with ideas)
Collaboration (and learning) is always a social happening!
Also to remember: Educational use of technology:
The way technology can enhance social interaction and group work is that it improves self regulation, collaborative learning and learning of expertise. Self-regulation in learning enhances by working with others and by using programs/softwares which are designed for studying. Collaborative learning is proved to enhance pupils results in learning, and. ability to e.g share the same document makes it easy. Together pupils share their expertise and solve really complex problems = Experts together via collaboration!