Mechanisms for collaboration

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Mechanisms for collaboration need to be built into the design of the curriculum. They generally involve specific activities where some form of interaction is required amongst students. At a basic level, they will share some ideas and resources in class and the assistance and teaching they provide to each other can be variable. At the next level, group activities are designed so that students are working together on specific tasks but rewarded individually. This can result in competition and a free-ride for some. In a well organised co-operative learning group, students work together on shared goals, and encourage and mentor each other to achieve. This type of setup can be beneficial for the whole group. For it to work well, students need guidance on how to learn in this way, and their progress needs to be monitored carefully by the teacher or mentor (Johnson & Johnson (1999).

In a learner-centred model of collaborative learning, a level of negotiation about how the learning would be conducted and facilitated informs learning design. Learners may decide on the learning objectives, the topics to be explored, and the skills they need to obtain. They would also have a say in how their learning is recorded and assessed. Projects are good for this type of learning, and provide the ideal opportunity for negotiation about assessments.

"Collaborative learning requires working together toward a common goal."
The members of the group take full responsibility for the learning process including the knowledge development of all members. Co-negotiation is key to success.
"Cooperative learning is a process meant to facilitate the accomplishment of a specific end product or goal through people working together in groups".
Instruction is pre-determined by the teachers for specific group tasks, objectives are set and progress is monitored and assessed (Johnson & Johnson, 1999).
Work-based learning is an excellent model of collaborative learning.
This model illustrates how collaboration, co-negotiation and mentoring can be used in the learning process.
Seven principles underpin work-based learning.