Monday, January 29, 2007

Collaborative learning?

Donald Clark has turned his attentions to collaborative learning.

Here are my thoughts ...
Collaborative learning is slow learning??? Donald - to be honest, I think that's rubbish as a generalisation, although I do agree that poor collaborative learning can be slow and ineffective - just as poor individual learning can be. Unfortunately there's probably far too much of both.

The issue, as with all learning, is to understand the dynamics of what will make collaborative learning more effective rather than to trash it completely. An awful lot of effective learning and education is heavily reliant on a collaborative learning as a fundamental part of the learning process - with or without the 'e' bit.

Gill Salmon has written extensively about her experiences in the academic space, and our experiences back that up. Were Epic's projects with Arena all failures?

Collaboration may be natural but it is also difficult - even face to face it is difficult. People learn to be good collaborators - unfortunately often compensating for poor early experiences in our education systems. My belief is that the nascent e-learning market was hijacked by the e-course companies - both generic and custom (!?). Using technology to enable people to people interaction for learning is as important as using technology for access to static and dynamic information and knowledge.

Much of the new parts of the Internet you advocate are reliant on people-centric approaches rather than content centric. Let's look for more of this, not less.

;) David


Ingrid said...

Dear David,
This is Ingrid from Spain, from Coruña, exactly, I totally agree with your comments on cooperative learning. I teach at University and there are a lot of obstacles and, of course,as Donald points out, however the benifits are infinite superior as we activate a lot of competences, improve the atmosphere and implement respect as well as other quite forgotten principles.
It is very difficult to create or fdevelop a cooperative course but I couldn't give my classes now in any other way!
(if you have time perhaps you fid my blog about teaching and learning collaboration of some interest, if you find it adequate, I would like to include a link to this one in my blog)

David Wilson said...

Thanks Ingrid, that sounds a fairly ringing endorsement of the value of collaboration, as well as the learning experience to make them successful.