by Jorge Reyna, Educational Designer working with the Faculty of Science at Macquarie University
Why is collaboration important for learning?
Collaboration can be defined as a coordinated, synchronous activity that is the result of an ongoing attempt to construct and maintain a shared conception of a problem (Alluri & Balasubramanian, 2006). It has also been identified as a necessary component of active learning. The benefits of collaboration include development of critical thinking skills, problem solving skills, and discussion and consideration of ideas. Additionally, collaboration can help to understand cultural diversity and improve working with others. Social constructivist theory emphasises the importance of collaboration in the learning process. Learning is social and requires participation in a social process of knowledge construction (Kieser and Golden 2009).