Collaborative Learning in an Online Classroom

Learning in an online classroom is much different from a traditional classroom. The lack of face-to-face contact in an online learning environment can make it difficult to for learners to get to know one another and work together. The learners will more than likely never meet one another during their time together during the course. Due to the lack of face-to-face interaction, it is extremely important for the instructor to promote and create opportunities for the learners to work together and learn from each other.

There are several strategies that an instructor can use in order to ensure collaboration exists in the online learning environment. The key is to provide opportunities for the learners to become engaged with one another so that a learning community exists. Think about ways in which you, as the instructor, can create a learning environment in which the learners get to know each other and work together, just as they would in a traditional classroom setting.

For this week’s discussion question think about ways in which you, as the instructor, can create a learning environment in which collaboration is encouraged and exists. Think about experiences you have had in an online learning environment in which collaboration was implemented by your instructor. Discuss three-five different strategies and/or activities that an instructor can implement in an online learning course in order to promote collaborative learning. The learning resource for this week is provided below in order to help guide you. You will also need to find one outside resource to support your answer with this discussion question. Use the link to the provided rubric to ensure you are meeting all of the requirements.

Click on the “comment” link at the bottom of this post to complete your discussion posting for this week. Your posting is due by Friday of this week.

Required Resource:

Book Excerpt: Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
(Palloff, R., & Pratt, K., Promoting Collaborative Learning, Building Online Communities). Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used with permission from John Wiley & Sons Inc. via the Copyright Clearance Center.

•Chapter 8, “Promoting Collaborative Learning” https://class.waldenu.edu/bbcswebdav/institution/USW1/201540_04/MS_INDT/EIDT_6511/Week%207/Resources/Resources/embedded/Paloff_Ch8.pdf
Rubric:

DiscussionQuestionRubric

 

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3 Comments

  1. My three strategies I found to be effective to promote collaborative learning are as follows:

    1. Creating a shared goal can help any group become a learning community and help with collaborative learning. The goals help students understand that everyone needs to work together to succeed, as Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007) state “If students are clear from the beginning of the course that “we’re all in this together,” then incorporating collaborative activity into the course happens much more easily” (p. 159). Shared goals can help everyone in the course to think like a team and start the foundation for a learning community which can help promote collaborative learning.

    2. A second way to promote collaborative learning is to create teams. These teams can be used for small group discussion, group assignments, and group activities. Teams help a student feel like they are part of something and can help make an online course not feel as lonely. Also while working in teams the team members have an understanding that their team members will evaluate their work, “in the online environment, when students may not be in contact except through that course, this can serve as an incentive to promote collaboration” (Palloff, R., & Pratt, K., 2007, p. 167).

    3. My third way to promote collaboration is to allow students to help each other in a discussion board. An instructor in an online class needs to be more of a background player when it comes to creating collaboration. When a student posts to a discussion board some erroneous content an instructor should not immediately jump in and try to fix the students error. Instead the instructor should wait for the other students to help out and show where the original student misunderstood the information. Then the instructor if needed should provide support and possible direction of the correct information but not directly spell it out, “Participants in a discussion, the aim of which is to promote collaboration, can benefit from supports and scaffolds that guide them along the continuum through these processes” (Murphy, E., 2004, p. 430).

    References

    Murphy, E. (2004). Recognising and promoting collaboration in an online asynchronous discussion. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 35(4), 421-431.

    Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

  2. Daniel,

    Another great post! I like the fact that you mentioned the importance of implementing teams as a way to set the tone for the course. I agree as well that instructors should take a “back seat” in discussion groups unless something inappropriate is posted. The discussions should be led by the learners who grow to know each other this way.

    Krista

  3. Krista, I really like your blog post. I was pulled in with the great direction you provided stating “can create a learning environment in which collaboration is encouraged and exists. Think about experiences you have had in an online learning environment in which collaboration was implemented by your instructor”. I really like the part “Collaboration is encourages and exists”. You really captured the motivational encouragement an instructor needs to give when laying out instructions for their students. Very well done!
    Eric Bronley

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