In teaching and learning, collaboration provides an opportunity for learners to work together to achieve a common goal and/or solve industry based problems. It promotes a community of inquiry where a social, teaching, and cognitive presence can be integrated for a collaborative learning experience (Bates, 2015).
This project has outlined the four different categories of collaboration that are evident at Deakin University that are outlined in the Digital Collaboration Framework; collaborative, cooperative, connected; and social. Using these different categories, we have outlined the importance of digital collaboration, the different types of interaction and the learning that occurs through these different interactions.
Collaboration software has also been evaluated and can be implemented to support you in the development of collaboration in the teaching and learning space.
Collaborative learning is embedded in the constructivist theory where learners can share ideas and coordinate themselves to solve a problem and/or construct common knowledge (Mercer and Littleton, 2007). It enables learners to view ideas from a different lens and scaffold their thinking through constructive conversations, critically negotiate views, and critique ideas in order to build their existing knowledge (Cass and Littleton, 2010).
Central to collaborative learning is robust discussion that can be synchronous and asynchronous to achieve the cognitive benefits through significant interaction to solve a problem (Dillenboug and Schneider, 1995). In doing so, it provides a space where there is positive social interdependence through reciprocal feedback, challenging and encouraging each other and jointly reflecting on progress and process (Johnson & Johnson, 1996). As a result, there is a shared approach to learning with greater autonomy for learners to construct their knowledge and generate artefacts (Rigault, 1996).
Central to cooperative learning is the distinction between the extent and quality of the exchanges that occur within the groups of learners. Cooperative learning involves tasks which can be split into sub tasks where individuals, as part of a group, are able to undertake tasks independently (Dillenbourg and Scheider, 1995). The tasks do not need to be completed in a collaborative manner, as learners can agree on their role and work independently asynchronously until they collate the resources at the conclusion of the project (Curtis, 2001).
Social learning is based on Bandura’s social learning theory (1977) which suggests that we learn from each other socially, through observation, imitation and modelling. In the digital age, learners need the ability to develop interpersonal relationships that enable them to be supported and learn from others based on their personal requirements. By investing their time, sharing genuine experiences, successes and failures, stories, and approaches to solving problems, learners are collaborating for their own purposes (Wenger, 2012).
Siemens (2005) emphasizes the complexities of learning and the role of social and cultural contexts in how and where this learning occurs; through the development of networks and connections we make, we are able to co-construct our knowledge and help shape our thinking. As such, learners are motivated to fuse the gap between their experience and formal education, by connecting with other learners and resources to fuse their personal interests and their peer culture (Ito et al., 2013). This creates a space where learners are intrinsically motivated to develop personal and professional networks to find out what they want to know and can transfer these skills to the twenty-first century workforce.
Collaborative learning is embedded in the constructivist theory where learners are able to share ideas and coordinate themselves in an attempt to solve a problem and/or construct common knowledge. Central to collaborative learning is a robust discussion that needs to be exchanged synchronously in a space where it creates positive social interdependence where users provide reciprocal feedback, challenge and encourage each other and together reflect on progress and process.