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Collaboration and Learning – What Are Your Examples?

by Jeff Cobb

A while back Karen Schweitzer did a guest post here titled 15 Free Online Collaboration Tools and Apps. Karen is skilled at writing popular posts, but even so, I have been surprised at how much traffic this one has attracted. Apparently people are hungry for free online collaboration tools.

Meanwhile, on other fronts, an attendee at a recent Webinar I was part of noted that collaborative learning …

…should be a particular strength of e-learning from the perspective of technological capabilities. Yet I feel we are still in the early stages of discovering how to move from “broadcasting” knowledge to collaborating in learning. Where are the collaborative learning successes in e-learning? What can we do to accelerate this shift?

The question got me thinking about Karen’s post. My suspicion is that most of the people searching for and finding that post are not thinking in terms of collaborative learning. Or, perhaps more accurately, they are not necessarily thinking of what they will do with the tools as “learning,” even if it is. But in reality, I’m thinking there is a huge amount of collaborative learning going on out there. Whether you see it or not depends on your definition of learning.

So, I’d be really interested to find out how readers here are using collaboration tools and how they see them feeding into their learning, whether in a formal, traditional sense (e.g., as part of working on a class assignment, participating in class discussion) or in an informal sense (e.g., building knowledge as a project team, sharing experiences across social networks, etc.).

If you have an example of how you or others are using online collaboration tools with a learning twist, please comment and share. Is it working well? How or how not?  (And in case you hadn’t thought of it in these terms yet, this post is itself an attempt at collaborative learning!)


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posted on March 4, 2010

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