Oct 27 2023
Senior VP- EdTech Solutions
Collaboration skills are one of the essential job skills that employers look for in candidates. The ability to work together as a team to complete a task is essential in the job market. Educational institutions can impart these collaborative skills through teaching and learning strategies that promote student collaboration in small groups. As a result, students will be able to optimize their own and each other’s learning.
In daily classroom practices, the implementation of collaborative learning is not always successful. Students experience unequal participation in group tasks. Also, many times, they like to go on their own without effectively working with others in the group.
In the digital education landscape, where globalization is increasingly becoming common, students can collaborate beyond geographical borders. With the right technology integration, teachers can organize interactive learning activities that encourage peer-to-peer learning. Some of the benefits of collaborative learning are:
The success of collaborative learning lies in the ability to create complex activities and assignments that compel students to work with each other. Rigorous projects that are stimulating, challenging, engaging, and multi-layered foster positive interdependence. Team members will realize that working together and sharing knowledge will enable them to complete the assignments faster and achieve better grades. However, collaboration can’t be assigned or taught. Rather, it has to be nurtured. Some of the challenges for effective collaboration are:
Seamless communication between students is crucial to fostering collaboration. Trust and teamwork are essential to working together. However, when students speak different languages, their ability to communicate instantly reduces. These language barriers effectively stop them from sharing ideas and completing tasks. Teachers must intervene to overcome communication barriers by setting up communication guidelines. Respectful feedback, active listening, and clear expectations for communication can help students work together. To build trust between group members, teachers can organize team-building exercises that serve as icebreakers.
Irrespective of the size of the team, there is always room for conflict and disagreement in any group activity. However, this doesn’t have to impact the team negatively. Instead, the differences in opinions can result in the birth of new ideas. Clashing personalities and team members with different cultural values often need help working together. Students who misunderstand each other will not participate in group activities with enthusiasm. This can result in a breakdown of team progress.
Teachers should teach conflict resolution skills to students to enable them to work in larger groups. Learning empathy, respecting others’ opinions, and finding areas of compromise will help students prevent any issue from escalating. Instructors must take ideal measures to create a safe space for students to share their concerns and give constructive peer feedback.
Technology is an integral part of every industry, and the education industry is no exception. Universities and K12 learning institutions are increasingly adopting digital platforms. However, the digitization process can also result in challenges for many students. When there is a lack of access to processing speed and networking bandwidth, it can stop the students from effectively collaborating. The online distractions may divert their attention.
Teachers must establish guidelines and resources to overcome these technical barriers. Creating resource backups and adopting tech intervention will help students with poor bandwidth gain access to effective learning material. Training students on online etiquette will help them collaborate better in virtual classrooms. Apart from the online platform, teachers can offer offline support for students with limited access to technology through phone calls and in-person meetings.
Learning styles vary from one student to another. There is no single learning and teaching style that will suit all students and affect academic outcomes in the same way. Visual learning is widely acclaimed as the best, but some students may be overwhelmed by multimedia content and thrive when they have access to auditory learning material.
When students in a group have varied learning styles and cultural backgrounds, it can result in misunderstandings. To combat this challenge, universities and educational institutions must invest in creating a variety of educational tools and resources. Adaptive learning solutions and interactive platforms will enable every student to engage in group activities. Sensitizing students with respect to cultural differences will help them find common ground and build better relationships.
Faculty are responsible for creating a collaborative environment between students of different cultures. This requires access to immense resources, and their unavailability limits the efficiency of the teachers. Students face the brunt of this dire situation.
Teachers often struggle with time management because their calendars are already stretched. Academic institutions must find innovative ways to optimize resource availability and leverage automation tools to empower their instructors. K12 education solutions and universities, in particular, must adopt advanced learning solutions to ease the burden on their faculty. Enabling simple time management tools will help teachers improve productivity and encourage students to collaborate effectively.
The core of developing collaborative activities is ensuring that students share an intellectual space and contribute effectively. Promoting team autonomy, instant feedback, and an enabling learning environment will improve learning outcomes. Through interactive exercises, teachers can build interpersonal and teamwork skills that will improve individual and collaborative learning. The digital solutions for academic organizations must be customized to address specific challenges. MRCC EdTech offers bespoke digital solutions that can empower organizations, teachers, and students to improve their learning experience and achieve academic excellence. You can learn more about different MRCC content and technology solutions in the EdTech space and find the ideal solution for your institution.