The learning in which two or more than two people attempt to learn something together is termed as Collaborative Learning. This learning is different from individual learning where an individual focuses on his or her own learning. In this people are engaged in learning something based on the skills, ideas, and resources of the whole group. The scope of learning from outer sources becomes widen. Ultimately, an individual cannot learn everything from himself.
We all need to learn from others. Let’s take the example of a newborn baby. Unless the baby grows up and becomes capable of eating, speaking, walking, reading or doing any basic thing on his own, he learns all these crucial habits from his family.
When the baby grows up and is admitted into a school, where he learns new concepts from his school teachers and the friends he make. This concept of learning from others goes on throughout the whole life of an Individual till the time he is alive.
Likewise, in collaborative learning the students or learners in a group ask one another for information, evaluate each other’s ideas, monitor one another’s work, and the learning goes on until the desired goal is achieved, let it be any.
The roots of Collaborative learning can be found in the theory of Lev Vygotsky’s concept of learning. It is called the Zone of Proximal Development. There are certain tasks where it can be identified what a learner can do and what he cannot.
The development between these two areas is referred to as the Zone of proximal development. It means a learner can learn but with the good amount of guidance provided to him. In this development, the importance of learning through communication and interaction with one another is highlighted. Hence lead to Collaborative learning.
Practically speaking, Collaborative learning is very crucial in achieving critical and reasonable thinking power. The trend of Collaborative learning has been tremendously increasing for more than a decade. Not only in India, but this learning has been leaving impeccable marks in the countries abroad as well.
This learning is used as a tool for the cost-benefit of being able to reinforce learning in workers and trainees. It is also employed in business houses, corporate firms as well as in government sectors.
Reasons behind the success of Collaborative Learning:
Following are some of the reasons why collaborative learning is preferred in most of the places:
- An individual cannot learn from himself alone;
- This is very time effective learning;
- Besides saving time, it is effective in saving cost as well;
- Where there are learned and fresher people in one batch of learning, the scope of learning widens;
Many workplaces are looking for different methods that involve collaborating with older employees to give learning more of a hands-on approach. From them, collaborative learning is extremely beneficial as it uses past experiences from the previous employees to help fresher’s overcome the challenges.
Research shows that collaboration is becoming a need of the hour in the workplaces. The world is growing fast so is the work, so there is an implication of a lot of future work and I order to achieve the desired results collaborative learning is a must.
Some of the aspects that collaborative learning covers:
- Generation gap and age difference of all the people in a group;
- Technology support;
- Cultural diversity;
- Geographical distance and time zone differences;
How does technology help in Collaborative learning?
Technology, we all know has become a basic necessity of the whole world. It plays a pivotal role in Collaborative learning. The Internet has allowed for a shared place and space for groups of people to communicate over the past fifteen years.
It has become easier for people to collaborate over virtual platforms because of the internet and technology. Research has been conducted as to how technology has helped in increasing the use of Collaborative learning.
Development of new technology has been done that support this learning in higher education as well as at workplaces.
Examples of Collaborative learning:
- Knowledge of a subject can be fetched from a Lecturer to collaboratively coach and supervise an individual’s work on the final project.
- There is a learning method called the Classroom Consensus Group. In this method, the instructor allocates groups of three to five students and assign a problem or task to be solved or to be done. There are two directions to do that task –
- No right answer that generates discussion, or;
- Proposal of an answer and request of questions and a process of how the answer came to be.
Once the task is assigned, the instructor backs off to prevent himself from intervening in student’s conversation.
The instructor has to evaluate and not to judge the students work. Ideas are presented in the entire class, allowing the small groups to come together as a whole. This is how collaborative learning takes place and how it leads to success.