Off course group work is nothing new in the classroom, neither is cooperation between peers, but one may ask if collaborative learning is a recent invention or not. Though there are several different concepts for group work most of them will be able to describe either as 1) collaborative or 2) cooperative work. A cooperative group work is mainly characterized by group members working on different sub-tasks, and in higher education often being assessed individually. Collaborative work on the other hand has a broader idea of students working on the same task to achieve a common goal. This is when it gets interesting, especially when trying to implement educational technology into the mix.                                      

According to Neil Mercer one can apply a sociocultural view of teaching and learning, making communication, dialogue and collaboration the main elements of closing in on meaning and understanding of knowledge. In a group, or through collaboration with one or more peers, different perspectives will appear and new arguments will arise. These can in turn be discussed and evolved through dialogue and thus the collaboration might lead to more knowledge in the individual student. And off-course, it is not only the collective knowledge that is enhanced, but also the individual learner will reflect more on his/her own learning process and the knowledge inherit from before.

In iLikeIT2, by saying collaborative learning we mean the usage of groups of learners during the lessons to develop their skills by learning through working together. The groups of learners could be consisted of two or more people to foster working together by solving problems, accomplishing tasks, and/or learning new theories and concepts. And the whole process should be aided by educational technology, targeting the drivers for learning in collaboration.

Collaboration fosters engagement of the learner in the learning process which offers incorporation of concepts and information, rather than memorizing facts and figures. Learners can work with each other for the completion of tasks and projects by working together with their peers to understand the concepts being presented to them.

What does collaborative learning offer? Attendants “through defending their positions, reframing ideas, listening and articulating to other viewpoints, learners will gain a more complete understanding as a group than they could as individuals”. Pairing seniors with newbies, solving problems across teams or allowing students to vote for the best solutions of a case will most probably foster learning, and motivate students to participate even more actively in the learning environment.

The result will be to build a collaborative learning community in an environment that fosters cooperation among peers and working together for a common goal. In this way, peers learn from each other, manage to communicate effectively, and develop their skills. Learners participate actively in the learning process through collaboration and the collaborative tasks should have clear instructions, each group consisting of an amount of learners allowing all to participate actively, and having flexible rules, thus groups could “experiment within themselves and work with open communication”. This can be done more effectively with educational technology, as long as the functionalities are sufficient to provide what the students need to do it. Hopefully iLikeIT2 can bring us a bit on the way towards a new pedagogy also for collaborative work in the classroom.