Buzzfeed’s Christine Hollen says a collaborative space online offers the best design, teamwork, and community for learning.
What Is The Best Collaborative Learning Space Online
Working together in one place on the internet is tough. Online services may seem like the perfect option, but they offer different benefits to students: Some offer more work, others have the same amount of time available for project work, others have a central mission and others facilitate a multitude of different abilities.
Our future jobs are going to be filled with people with different abilities. Outfitting workers with different capabilities is important. Education should show students that learning to work together in small groups is a valuable skill to have.
We’re talking about online learning here—companies, institutions, and conferences are starting to see how students learn best online. If students can share their knowledge and translate their work to multiple classes, then many are better equipped to succeed.
These are services geared to promote student learning, so each project they work on is interconnected, but the best-case scenario is that students learn together in a way that creates a communal learning experience.
But what does this mean in real life? Does having a best-case scenario work in the real world?
For instance, Columbia University collaborated with Tech Icon and teachers at the Forbes College and helped students create a web app. Students used the AppStart platform and monitored their personal activity between assignments, graded those completed, and then recoded the app for further updates.
As the Tech Icon project progressed, students could post new tasks and reports to compare their progress. They formed small groups based on their individual tasks, getting feedback on what works and why. Once they figured out who was engaged with the project, it could be explained to them using app-like forms.
“When you’re in groups of any kind, you really need to figure out what they want,” said Heather Ashby, the CEO of Tech Icon. “There should be something in your project that’s accessible to everybody.”
Stanford also has a collaborative learning platform called Syllabub. A project starts with a tracking data input by the student. They will then choose who is in what group and receive both voice and group response via text-message.
There are few bad habits that could be avoided by creating a virtual working environment for collaboration. For one, project work shouldn’t start before everyone starts school. At least for online courses, they shouldn’t work while students are still commuting back and forth from class.
Second, before assigning projects for the online class, make sure everyone has completed their homework so they don’t try to do it on their own. It can also be best to assign group projects rather than individual projects that the student can put off until the end of the semester.
Sometimes a good project can be nothing more than sitting around and wasting time together.
A well-run app or education site can connect students with similar levels of ability through a virtual setting. This is a positive development for students to learn together in a way that would have been impossible before.
With technological advancements and more resources available to students, it’s not just a question of learning online. Online learning is becoming essential for any type of project that a student wants to complete. Even if a project isn’t connected to a class and the student can’t do it all online, a virtual environment could make it less painful to follow the project.
Online is a great medium for a student to work on an assignment because it allows them to quickly learn the lessons through tasks that are open to the entire group and can be completed as a team.
Currently, most web-based online learning platforms have resources that can help you learn how to produce a quality product. There are many practical tips for online organizing that are key to improving the end product for students and teachers. Apps like General Assembly and Treehouse help students learn and produce professional-level projects. There are also plenty of resources on how to get started.
Web-based educational tools can be compared to a video game. It provides lots of opportunities for students to make friends, form friendships, and learn how to work in teams. Working together online is actually a great opportunity to build skills that can be applied in real life.
Doing projects together that take place in virtual spaces makes collaborative learning all the more valuable. Learning is important, but it isn’t as simple as having a goal to learn. Seeing people reach their learning goals and really getting to know each other will be a major reward.
With all the digital options students have today, finding an online learning space that works well for you may be a challenge. These platforms are built to support student learning.
And, perhaps even more importantly, they offer a unique opportunity to learn with others and to socialize with peers from different disciplines.