When we collaborate, there is an interaction between two or more individuals who are working together to achieve a particular goal. “Teachers who use collaborative approaches tend to think of themselves less as expert transmitters of knowledge to students, and more as expert designers of intellectual experiences for students, as coaches or mid-wives of a more emergent learning process” (Smith & McGregor, n.d., ¶ 1). In certain environments, collaboration may be more difficult to achieve; it does not occur by simply putting individuals together and asking them to work collectively (Galagher, Kraut, & Egido, 1990). Friend and Cook’s (1992) definition of collaboration emphasizes goal orientation: “Interpersonal collaboration is a style of direct interaction between at least two co-equal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal” (p. 5). Collaboration is further defined as “a process through which parties who see different aspects of a problem [or issue] can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited vision of that is possible” (Gray, 1989, p. 5).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Platform: Platform refers to the specific combination of hardware and/or support software for a particular activity.
Constructivism: A learning theory that suggests individuals create their own knowledge when encountering something new. Knowledge is therefore temporary, individually constructed, and socially reconciled.
E-Learning: A general term used to refer to technology-enhanced learning. It includes the delivery of learning content via Internet and emerging technologies.
Epistemology: A branch of philosophy that relates to the nature of knowledge. Basically, it is how we know what we know; an examination of our intellectual framework.
Communities of Learning: Communities of learning gravitate to knowledge or practices they consider important. A sense of community occurs because learners are socially engaged in a valued process of learning.
Collaboration: Collaboration enables key stakeholders to share information by working together cooperatively. It is both a process and end result.