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Distance Education

Collaborative Learning

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Distance Education

Wayne Hall
6th Floor
125 W. Rosedale Ave.
West Chester, PA 19383

Phone: 610-436-2948
Fax: 610-436-2189

Distance Education Support
Phone: 610-436-3373

Collaborative Learning



Collaborative learning is an activity where two or more students work together in a group with a specified project to achieve a common goal. Each member may work with an assigned individual topic in addition to collaborating with the fellow group members to complete other shared tasks to meet common requirements. Instructional technologies enhance the ability of student teams to collaborate effectively, by providing communication tools as well as applications for sharing and publishing work.  

Instructional Uses:

  • Group presentations
  • Collaborative writing assignments
  • Problem solving activities 
  • Brainstorming 
  • Study groups 
  • Peer Evaluation 
  • Group discussions during presentations/lectures 
  • Process and decision-making activities 

WCU Supported Tools:

Additional Tools:

Tips for using Collaborative Learning:

  • Design projects that are complex and relevant enough to require discussion, contribution and active participation by all the group members to complete the assigned tasks.  
  • Provide teams time early enough to discuss and agree on what they will do to manage various group issues.  
  • Utilize the Track Changes and/or Comments features tools in publishing applications to increase collaboration and accountability. 
  • Randomly select students to speak for their groups in order to be sure everyone is engaged at the same level.  


Coppola, Brian P. “Progress in Practice: Exploring the Cooperative and Collaborative Dimensions of Group Learning.” The Chemical Educator 1 no. 1 (1996): 1-9. 

Nilson, Linda B. “Learning in Groups.” In Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors 2010, 155-166. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2010. /2014-05-02Teaching-at-its-best.pdf.

Scager, K., Boonstra, J., Peeters, T., Vulperhorst, J., & Wiegant, F. (2016). Collaborative Learning in Higher Education: Evoking Positive Interdependence. CBE Life Sciences Education, 15(4), ar69. 

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