Collaborative learning, Communities of practice & Learning communities

I would imagine that writing these blog posts concerning different kind of new technologies supporting learning, would be easy for someone who is already a teacher. Since I have never taught anyone it has been challenging to find proper material and to understand what all these are used for. Yet I have learned a lot, if that matters. I have found a whole new world of learning possibilities.

Co-operation skills are needed in the modern world. They are needed in the preschool, in upper secondary school and during the whole life. In almost every job interview interviewee asks about co-operation abilities or how you work as a part of a team. Collaborative learning and problem solving are new ways of working together.

Collaborative learning is not a new invention, it can be tracked back to ancient times. Collaborative learning teach to listen, to discuss, to question and to impress your opinion as well as to appreciate others opinions. It has been researched that students learn better when they are active partners in the learning process. Interaction skills require teaching and learning so collaborative learning will succeed. Working together in a group is not easy and it requires that all members of the group are willing to work towards a common goal. If there is lack of communication or motivation group work will be challenging.

Communities of practice

Communities of practice are groups of people who share common interest on something and they want to learn together more about it in regular interaction. The key of these communities is to learn from each other, to gain progress and share results. Learning communities have goals and they measure the progress. They can work bot face-to-face and virtually. Collective knowledge increases and learning is shared.

An example of communities of practice in class room “Introduction to communities of practice,” (Wenger-Trayner, 2015)

Learning communities

Learning community is a group of people who share a common interest on a certain subject. It can also be defined as a group of students who take courses together. The meaning of social and institution relationship is meaningful for learning. I can see this in my own work. When open UAS students participate only on one course, they have difficulties to fit in to the group which has studied together several courses. Open UAS path students who study in the same group for the whole year do not have the same problem. In adult education learning groups improve social cohesion.

Professional learning communities PLCs are groups of professionals, improving learning with collaboration. These communities also improve professionalism and teacher’s well-being.

References:
Bright Hub Education – Brief History of Collaborative Learning: The Origins of Learning Groups
Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University
Kilpatrick, S., Barrett, M. & Jones t. – Defining Learning Communities
Yhteisöllinen oppiminen ja ongelmanratkaisu
Wenger-Taryner, B. & E., Introduction to communities of practice

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