In a traditional e-learning setting, learners learn the content in a secluded, self-paced environment. Here, learners have little chance of meeting their fellow learners to share their learning experiences. On the other hand, collaborative learning encourages active learning where each learner has an opportunity to take an active part in learning activities.
Benefits of collaborative learning: It occurs at various levels.
Boosts social interactivity:
The foundation for collaborative learning is interaction among learners. Learners cherish social interaction. In an academic or a corporate environment, learners from various locations come onto a learning platform. This gives them an opportunity to expand their social network by building trust. This eventually helps them with their career growth.
Organizations and academic institutions have realized that the key to successful e-learning programs is to integrate collaborative learning tools. Tools such as Wikis, shared videos, message boards, etc. can make learning more engaging and appealing to learners.
Facilitates the learning process:
Since in collaborative learning, learners share a platform, they can complement each others’ shortcomings. In case a learner finds it difficult to understand a concept, he can get his partner’s help instead of directly approaching his instructor. This can alleviate the pain of learning a grueling subject alone.
However, here trust between the learners matters. Unless they believe in one another, they do not share the information. This can apply both to academic and corporate environments. This is what the management should deal with. They should ensure that peer competition is under check for the greater good of all learners.
Helps learners mine information:
As learners from various locations get connected to a single learning platform, they can have various perspectives on a single topic. This helps them broaden their outlook overcoming the narrow prejudices emanating from local environment. Also, it helps learners with information mining from brainstorming sessions.
Provides learners with first-hand learning experience:
With collaborative e-learning, learners can familiarize themselves with concepts first hand. For instance, learners learning a foreign language can practice their language skills with native speakers. This will boost their learning experience and keep them motivated.
With these benefits, collaborative e-learning has the potential to take e-learning in academic as well as corporate settings to further stages of significance and utility.
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