Collaborative learning! The term itself says it all. It’s an approach to learning, where learners rely on each other’s support, skills and resources.
When teams are small and operate from a single location, it’s easy to foster collaborative learning. But what to do when people operate from different locations? How to ensure a smooth flow of information and ideas among team members?
This is where a collaboration software comes in. It can foster real-time collaborative learning in a simple manner.
If you’re contemplating the adoption of a collaboration software to ensure quick, efficient and real-time learning for your teams in different location, there are few things that you must keep in mind. Listed below are the top 5 elements of the best online collaborative learning tool:
1. Simple, Intuitive Design
The first and foremost requirement is: simplicity and intuitiveness of a learning platform. The layout should be simple. The button placements and functions play an important role.
The logic is what looks easy to use gets used.
Otherwise users feel intimated of technology and take long to adopt it. The platform should also offer quick, convenient operation with a minimal number of errors during the learning session.
A good online collaborative learning tool:
- has a soothing color pattern
- has an easy interface
- provides all options just in front of the eyes
- feels easy to use
- has a proper workflow management
And each time the platform deviates from these expectations, learners may find their motivation lagging and patience running out. The trials of online learning can instigate a positive or negative emotional response, depending on the user’s experience with the platform and content. Learners must be able to operate the platform in a quick, effortless manner to leave energy and patience for absorbing the instructional content.
Design is the first stage of interaction between the system and the learner. It makes or breaks the whole experience. It is of vital importance to utilize an intuitive platform for distance coursework.
2. Comprehensive Platform
The best online collaborative learning tool includes all of the necessary functions at one place, so that users don’t have to go switch between multiple functions and plug-ins. Learners should never have to leave the platform to access written or video material, bulletin board systems, assignment/idea submission forms. Furthermore, moving from one area to another should remain seamless and effortless to facilitate continued learner engagement.
A comprehensive online collaboration tool will have:
- integrated messaging features
- virtual live classroom
- content authoring and recording
- conversations recorded
- mobile learning support
It organizes the links to all of these areas into a single navigation bar or window. An inclusive learning space creates a tight community of learners, despite working from different locations.
3. Group Collaboration Tools
For a platform to remain flexible and convenient, and foster collaborative learning, learners must retain the ability to collaborate as a cohesive group – when learning, exchanging ideas and completing projects together. A good collaboration tool must provide:
- a mix of asynchronous and synchronous communication options
- document sharing options
- a feature/functionality for brainstorming sessions
- tools to integrate with calendar apps
- functionality to attach feedback to individual performance/files
- private communication among/between learners
- direct discussions with instructors
Learners are more likely to use the platform and put more effort into their work when technology makes their lives easy instead of complicating.
4. Multi-Platform Compatibility
Learners excel in online learning environments that are supported on multiple devices. When there are multiple options and the communication channels remain open and easily accessible, participation and engagement remain high. Learners’ interest actually hinges on
- the ability to have quick access at multiple platforms
- mobile support, so that they can learn on-the-go
- engagement on smartphones via native mobile app
However, all correspondence should go through or pass a central location. Ideally, the platform should maintain the navigational framework so that correspondences and learning delivery and consumption can take place on almost all the devices.
5. Light-Weight/ Cloud-Based
Online learning environments began as server-based systems housed and maintained onsite. The costs of obtaining, running, and maintaining the servers are high. Also, it wasn’t possible to deliver and consume learning on mobile. Thankfully, the development of cloud-based systems opened up online collaborative learning opportunities in new ways.
The costs are low, implementation is easy, and operations can be scaled almost instantly. Cloud systems enable the learning environment to utilize optimal computing power and remain data intensive throughout.
Integrating Online Learning Opportunities
With the best online collaborative learning tool at their disposal, employers have a unique opportunity to
- foster collaborative learning
- boost employees’ job skills and performance through targeted interaction and instruction
It eliminates barriers that would normally dissuade employees from seeking additional learning opportunities. An online collaboration tool offers convenience, flexibility and ease of learning, regardless of geographical proximity.
WizIQ offers all of the most important elements of an ideal online collaborative learning tool. Businesses can use the platform to offer training programs, foster collaboration between in-house and virtual teams.