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 Home > Evolution of Collaborative Learning  



Evolution of Collaborative Learning  


Today, collaborative learning utilizes developing and innovative technologies to support the learning process amongst its participants. The future evolution of collaborative learning will depend upon the relationship between the participants that are collaborating and not necessarily the technology itself. How technology effects collaborative learning is based upon the organization's learning perspective and the organizational environment. The on-going dilemma of utilizing these technologies is understanding how the learner or participant responds to it.


The evolution of collaborative learning relies on two parts, technology and the learner's cognition. The technology must allow for the restructuring of teaching to match each unique learning situation for it to be successful.  We (the Collaborative Learning Team) considers the 3D Virtual Collaborative Learning (3VCL) as somewhat beyond today’s business needs, it’s being explored and applied to several European K-12 school environments to determine how to engage the young generation whom has grown up utilizing technology since 3-4 years old.   Realizing that collaboration is essential to the virtual learning environment, the students recognized an increase sense of responsibility, understanding of deadlines, and team contribution, all while overcoming linguistic barriers that common day competition provided during the 3VCL environment.


Collaborative learning is based upon the concept of creating and sharing of knowledge and ideas between participants (students, learners) and the expert (teacher, instructor, trainer). In collaborative learning, it is important to understand the concepts that are shared but also understand what motivates the participant to share those concepts. Learning environments are more effective when both the participant and expert are able to view each others thought processes and understand their motivations. Going forward, collaborative learning will have to allow for more transparency regarding the cognitive processes of the participants.


With change, there are challenges. Some of the challenges of collaborative learning involve the adoption of innovative tools and cognition of collaboration. Learning through cross generations, young versus adult learners, is also a challenge. "This era is the first in recorded history in which it can be argued that the younger generation has greater facility with the tools and artifacts of knowledge formation and knowledge sharing than the preceding generation, it is also arguable that in the future, a youth-dominant society is one that has failed to exploit the  vibrancy of all ages of society." (Hamilton) How participants utilize the technology depends upon whether it is appropriate or used as it is intended based upon the learning situation. Additionally, how do you optimize group flow in collaboration? Through the practice of utilizing these technologies, will then reveal the structures that enable collaborative learning.


Additionally, with the expansion of the collaborative learning space and the space will see more and more competing technologies merge and collaborate. This is already occuring in the space with enterprise software absorbing existing open-source tools or open source tools allowing for the flexibility to add-on or utilize the plug-ins of other competing open source tools.





Access the articles below by visiting DePaul's electronic subscription to the ACM Digital Library.

  • Jones, Chris, Dirckinck-Holmfeld, Lone, and Lindtrom, Berner (2005). "The Next Ten Years - A View from Europe"

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