How Does Online Collaboration Enchance Learning

We asked nine educators about what it takes to collaborate and learn.

Today, when someone learns from you, it’s almost impossible for them to leave you alone. And to make matters worse, most conversations we have online are rapidly becoming unstructured and untranslatable, resulting in a fairly good knowledge collapse that causes less empathy, or lack thereof, between people.

But just because we have richer digital learning material doesn’t mean that the learning process is too easy. No one’s perfect—when there’s a lot of instruction and a lot of data going back and forth, it’s easy to make mistakes. Instead of just asking a random question and hoping it lands you a great discovery, try to think about what the most important questions you are interested in asking should be. Then think about connecting those questions with lots of information in a way that makes sense. Finding those answers has to be a part of your collaboration.

How do you assemble your question? Ask it. If it’s great, make the thing. If it’s not great, scrap it. Just when you think you know what a question looks like, flip it over. Make sure it’s phrased in a way that makes sense.

First, you’ll need to be willing to work in a co-based environment, to reach a variety of outcomes with varying degrees of skills and competencies. The question answer from which many experts recommend starting is “When the information can be shared rapidly, why do you think someone else’s choices will be better than yours?” in such a way that everyone might get to the point they want to reach by sharing information, even if it’s the same level of knowledge and analysis that those in the context had in mind.

Make the Questions and Answers Matter

If we want to make learning more self-consistent, we need to start thinking about question answers and questions answers as one in the same, not just as being included in something in progress. If your question is “Why am I curious?”, your answer can’t simply be a rhetorical rhetorical question. It must address an actual what question you’re asking.

Rather than defaulting to “why” when you don’t have a clear question, ask it until you have a clear answer. Once you have that answer, you don’t need to ask it again.

Look at your relationship to the various people contributing to the discussion, and ask the important questions. It’s entirely possible that someone with a lot of information will dominate the conversation, but that doesn’t mean the others should respond to that.

Change the Interactions

If we want people to have richer exchange with each other, we have to change the way we carry out our collaboration. The initial thought might be, “This is way better. I can get to it right away.” But as the participants learn more and expand their knowledge, that model can, and does, no longer be true.

If you want to transform your learning experience, you can change the way you operate it. Rather than presuming you know someone’s answer before they do, think about what questions could come right out of their mouths if only they understood your question more clearly. What questions might be simple enough that you can shoot an instant answer and have someone answer in a moment? Maybe you want to raise the topic of a related event? Maybe you’re curious about a new prediction? If you’re searching for answers to your questions, you have to get smarter at posing them, taking a more collaborative approach to your questions.

With better techniques and new methods for interacting with each other and creating knowledge, there’s a very good chance that you will have a better experience.

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