Why Using Collaboration In Online Learning

​Studies show there’s a lot of potential in collaboration among students and teachers.

Story highlights The digital native is the predominant mode of education for many millennials. And thanks to the ubiquity of smart phones, instructors often need to use all tools available to them to give students their assignments. Here’s how collaboration could increase student productivity.

Course-level collaborative learning opportunities open the door to increased teamwork and collaboration.

If you’re a content producer or teacher of online courses, collaborate with your students to push yourself and them to excel.

Despite the proliferation of online programs and the growing number of individuals in the workforce that are less likely to meet face-to-face, students want to be involved in everything. Even digital natives, that generation that was raised with the internet in place of a television or radio, are realizing they don’t necessarily need to be sitting side-by-side in a room full of students and teachers to learn.

The ethos of the digital natives has to do with the internet becoming embedded in their daily lives and also has to do with the fact that they’re the beneficiaries of greater levels of student self-actualization and digital literacy. The more tools they can learn from someone with expertise, the better they will be at doing it.

This is also good for businesses, because students must show they know how to use those tools to get the job done.

The digital native is the predominant mode of education for many millennials and the last cohort of adults that are entering the workforce not yet in their 50s. Many still carry BlackBerry phones and work at jobs that require them to communicate face-to-face at least once a week. They know all the technology is there, but they’re still using it with the same tools used in the work world.

Conversely, the digital natives have grown up with the internet and know that they can learn everything they need to by using it. They were raised using it, so they feel comfortable without the safety net of face-to-face interaction.

Thanks to the ubiquity of smart phones, instructors often need to use all tools available to them to give students their assignments. Another key component of this rising generation is that they expect to learn from experts. The internet allows for a level of objectivity for students that would not be possible if they were to engage in a face-to-face dialogue with the expert.

These students are the future teachers and professionals for companies large and small, and they deserve a helping hand.

One option for incorporating collaboration into online courses involves allowing students to ask questions of a professor. There are plenty of free apps that can help facilitate classroom interaction. For example, TabTaps helps manage classes and control the flow of lectures. Identi.ca allows a student to search the internet, find instructional video and buy it directly from the site.

This demonstrates that all kinds of technology is available to increase collaboration in courses. This is an educational device. And, as we’ve seen from faculty taking to YouTube and creating instructional videos, students have embraced it without much of a second thought. Collaboration technology allows for digital native teachers to interact with students on a less formal level. This increases student engagement and the satisfaction they get from learning the material. And while teachers will probably see less engagement in traditional courses, collaboration helps to set new standards for what students can expect of a course.

Because there are so many online classes, we’re beginning to see a shift of emphasis toward which courses are designed to improve academic success. These courses prioritize the time spent with students and improve collaboration between students.

Above all, being the students’ primary conduit is a great way to make sure that every student is equipped with the knowledge they need to be successful. Making it easy for students to do that should be a priority for instructors and administrators.

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