Collaboration in Online Learning
With more colleges and universities expanding their online learning offerings, it’s important to find new and innovative ways to keep students engaged, even though they’re not interacting in person. Collaboration in online learning can take many forms, and just as there are different types of students, there are various ways to promote engagement and collaboration within the digital space.
Prior to developing an online collaboration strategy, instructors should understand the importance of collaboration in education. The benefits of collaboration in face-to-face classes are evident, but perhaps even more so in digital learning environments; students need to be able to interact with their peers and instructors. In-person, there are numerous opportunities for organic collaboration. Those working within the digital landscape have to make a deliberate effort to create these opportunities. Nevertheless, they remain crucial to the learning process.
By creating spaces for online collaboration, you can better engage students and help keep all of your students on the same page. Without a solid framework for interacting with peers and instructors, students can quickly become overwhelmed or feel isolated, which inevitably leads to disengagement. Additionally, collaborative learning in online classes allows instructors to step back and let students take greater control of their education. Peer-to-peer knowledge share and feedback can provide a path toward improvement and increase student motivation. Plus, hearing diverse perspectives can help promote a more positive classroom experience overall.
There are many types of collaborative learning, and what works for one course may not work for another. For this reason, it’s important to communicate with others in your department to assess student needs and determine what type of online tools would benefit students most. For example, if you teach large classes, online group learning can be particularly advantageous, as it allows students to break off into smaller groups for more targeted, direct discussion. On the other hand, your students might also appreciate online course discussion boards in which they can share ideas and comment on their peers’ posts at a later time.
Despite the challenges associated with online learning, instructors can access a variety of tools to promote collaboration and make it easier for students to connect. They can use virtual discussion boards, video chat, and other methods of communication to work on group projects and exchange ideas. Contrary to popular belief, online learning can be just as collaborative as traditional learning, provided that instructors implement the right tools. By encouraging collaboration between their students, instructors can create quality learning programs that foster both academic and personal growth.
Online lectures are great for conveying information, but in order to truly digest that information, students need to be able to interact with one another, express their thoughts and opinions, and ask questions related to the course material. Online collaboration tools enable them to do just that, and it is for this reason that instructors should look for any and all opportunities to encourage interaction between their students.
Facilitating Collaboration in Online Learning
When facilitating collaboration in online learning ,instructors should consider the students they’re working with and the classes they’re teaching. For example, if you’re teaching a small humanities class, collaborative learning activities centered around large, quantitative-based projects may be less than ideal for your students. You might instead focus on paired discussions and more intimate group projects.
Chat is one of the best tools for collaborative online learning, regardless of the class you’re teaching. It’s a great way to get students involved without requiring that they have their cameras turned on. This can be especially beneficial for naturally shy students who might not otherwise participate.
Collaborative learning in the classroom can also be facilitated by asynchronous assignments. Students learn material on their own and then share their findings with their classmates when they regroup. This collaborative strategy, often known as the jigsaw technique, is a great way to encourage independent learning. Having students report to their classmates what they’ve found is a great way to hold them accountable for their learning and teach them how to effectively convey information to their peers. With this technique, instructors can take a step back to gauge the extent to which students are grasping the course material and step in as needed.
Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment is among the best collaborative learning strategies for students. Smaller learning groups are ideal for students that learn better when collaborating more directly with their peers. By contrast, those that appreciate hearing a wider range of perspectives may benefit more from larger learning groups. This is why it’s important to consider the needs and preferences of the students you are teaching. While it may be impossible to find a solution that works for each person, you can get a general feel for the collective class preference. In fact, polling your students to see how much and what kind of collaboration they prefer could be especially insightful.
To learn more about collaboration activities for students online, you can look at what your colleagues are doing. Take note of their respective teaching styles, the type of material they’re teaching, and how students respond to collaboration activities. When possible—and especially if you’re a new instructor—it can be helpful to sit in on other instructors’ classes to get a better idea of what effective online classes look like and start thinking about the various ways in which you might promote collaboration among your own students.
Digital scavenger hunts and quizzes are two of the most fun and widely used online collaborative learning activities. They are both informative and engage students in a way that traditional lectures cannot. By incorporating activities like these into collaboration strategies for students, instructors can promote greater connection and help students get the most out of the digital classroom setting. Just know that online learning and online collaboration doesn’t have to be messy and disjointed—leveraging digital collaboration tools, you can keep students aligned and working toward successful outcomes.
Collaborative Learning Benefits
Collaborative learning benefits range from the development of leadership skills to increased knowledge retention. By engaging in collaborative learning, students are exposed to diverse viewpoints, which can broaden their perspectives and encourage higher-level thinking. One of the other advantages of online collaborative learning is that it allows instructors to remove themselves from the learning process to see how well students are absorbing critical concepts by listening in on their discussions. Instructors can then adjust their curriculum or teaching plan to better meet student needs.
Viewing collaborative strategies examples can give you an idea of what good collaboration looks like and how you can increase collaboration in your digital classroom. You can also look at various platforms to see how they inspire discussion and connection between online students. Harmonize’s online collaboration tools help to boost engagement, spark creativity, and more. With Harmonize, students can sharpen their career-ready skills and access the collaborative tools they need from a single, centralized platform.
Harmonize is unique in that it can seamlessly integrate with your LMS to create a space for interactive discussions. The platform enables critical, reflective thinking and encourages students to stay connected, no matter where they happen to be learning from. As an educator, you’ll experience boosted engagement; students can benefit from enhanced opportunities for collaboration with their peers. Unlike some other platforms that rely on clunky, outdated technology, Harmonize makes it easy for students to connect and communicate with each other. This can help create a better classroom environment for all and improve the learning experience for all.
Online Classroom Collaboration Tools
Online collaborative learning tools are crucial to the success of online learning programs. But what are online collaboration tools? Put simply; they are tools that facilitate working with one another in the digital space. These tools include chat, polls, and discussion boards. To learn more about collaborative learning strategies, you can view collaborative learning activities examples. You might also browse examples of online collaboration activities to get a better idea of how instructors are using online classroom collaboration tools to engage students.
There are many different types of collaboration tools for online learning, so no matter what your specific needs, so no matter what your specific needs, you should be able to find collaboration apps to enhance your teaching strategy. Harmonize’s collaborative online learning tools are designed to create a better online learning experience for students. They include:
- Q&A boards for students to interact
- Digital annotations allow instructors to leave feedback on images and videos
- Discussion boards where students can come together to chat about course-related topics
- Multimedia capabilities that allow students to embed media and upload files to discussion boards
- Chat functionality for real-time interactions
- Polls for assessing student learning and gathering feedback
In addition to these, Harmonize offers auto-grading, auto-captioning, and more. The platform enables students to get the most out of their digital learning experience. As an instructor, you can use Harmonize to monitor student interactions and ensure that course material is being applied effectively. Harmonize goes a step beyond traditional collaboration tools and makes it easy for users to access all online classroom collaboration tools in a centralized app. This streamlines the online teaching and learning process.