Education and Development
Alluri and K.Balasubramanian
is defined as a coordinated, synchronous activity that is the
result of a continued attempt to construct and maintain a shared
conception of a problem. There are many forms of collaboration
that assist communities, countries, and regions in pursuit of
development. Among these are collaborative initiatives associated
with education and community learning.
it is formal or informal education, learning typically requires
participation in a social process of knowledge construction.
Knowledge emerges through a network of interactions, and it is
distributed and mediated by the people and the tools that they use
for interacting. Informal groups utilise tacit as well as explicit
knowledge while learning. Both formal and informal knowledge-building
can be collaborative activities, directed towards the development of
collective understanding. In the field of education and knowledge
management, collaboration has been defined as a process of
participating in knowledge communities (Kaplan, ASTD 2002).
Educational programs aimed at fostering development may draw
knowledge communities together or create partnerships between
educational providers, civil society, private industry and target
clients or communities.
addition to a variety of potential partnerships, there are also
various approaches to collaborating in education and development.
Learning for Development
benefits of collaborative learning were observed by the Commonwealth
of Learning (COL) in addressing
development issues including food security,
agriculture and rural development. In targeting farmers, agricultural
labourers, fishing communities, and nomadic people, the organization
found the educational needs of these clients to be different from the
conventional ‘student community.’ Because most of these
clients lack familiarity with traditional formal education structure
and systems, COL found existing methods of ODL and formal educational
approaches were inadequate to meet the learners’ needs.
a result of their programs aimed at development learning, COL
identified several characteristics among learners in marginalized
groups. Several of these characteristics point to the need for
collaboration among individuals and groups in order to succeed in
formal and informal learning environments:
levels of literacy and learning abilities might require facilitation
of shared and horizontal learning;
of capacity to learn individually might require a focus on group and
community learning needs;
of learners’ ability to access information individually might
require networking and sharing between those that have access and
those that lack access;
barriers might require the need for translation.
for Community Learning
initiated The Lifelong Learning
(L3) for Farmers Project in India. Open and Distance Learning
(ODL) as community learning, and as a base for horizontal
transfer of knowledge, is one of the interesting concepts to emerge
from this project. Initially, L3 focused on enhancing self-directed
personal and strategic learning as an important strategy for
strengthening life-long learning among farmers, agricultural
labourers and poorer sectors of the non-farm sector. The project
realized the importance of evolving learning community processes, and
it identified benefits in shifting from classroom centricity towards
local and contextual centricity.
Collaborative Learning and Development
the years Open and Distance (ODL) learning strategies have emerged in
order to address the needs of rural, urban poor, and indigenous
communities, as well as minorities and other marginalized sections of
the society. The Commonwealth of Learning and other organizations
supporting education and development have introduced ODL programs and
initiatives to facilitate greater access to learning for development.
addition to providing learner centric approaches and self-determined
learning for adults, ODL can facilitate collaboration among learners.
As a model of development learning, the
Farmers Project provided valuable insight into
challenges and opportunities
associated with the use of ODL for informal group learning.
in Delivering Education
addition to realizations about the need for collaborative learning
for community members, the COL Farmers Project also identified the
need for the collaboration of those providing education and
development services. Communities require a holistic integrated
package of information, knowledge and services that no single agency
or institution can provide. Additionally, by collaborating,
consortiums can make more effective use of shared resources.
of universities and research institutions are emerging in order to
meet the collective educational needs of communities. At the local
level, associations and women’s groups are serving as learning
communities that also help promote development. The groups and
consortiums are introducing ODL and other formal and informal
educational programs. Modern information and communications
technologies (ICT) are connecting communities and enabling the groups
to work collaboratively.
Enabling Collaboration in ODL
of the learning community within distance courses indicates the
effectiveness of distance learning courses and existence of the
friendly psychological environment. It could not be reached
spontaneously, but developed on the basis of the thoughtful
scientific approach, collaborative methods of teaching, and active
involving of all participants of the learning process into the joint
activities with shared goals, interests and emotional relationship
Moisseeva, Online Learning Communities and Collaborative Learning,
Network, 2005 http://www.iienetwork.org/?p=41543.
ICT is a platform for building learning communities. It is enlarging
the canvas of communities through vertical and horizontal linkages.
As a result, ICT is becoming both the cause as well as the effect of
collaboration in learning.
ICT, especially in the form of computers, can enhance collaboration
through four types of interactions in ODL: 1) interactions at the
computers, 2) interactions around computers, 3) interactions related
to computer applications, and 4) interactions through computers.
Collaboration can be synchronous as well as asynchronous.
the digital revolution extends throughout the world, it is important
that the different dimensions of collaboration are addressed in
expanding ODL and other educational initiatives in support of
Knowledge about Collaborative Learning
extends to educational providers looking to improve and expand their
knowledge of both content or subject matter and pedagogy. Formally
and informally organized initiatives include communities of practice
(CoPs), professional associations, learning communities or consortia,
and networks. ICT can facilitate these forms of collaboration,
sometimes drawing people together without face-to-face interaction.
in learning design and delivery might include collaborative and
participatory methods of preparing and delivering courses of study,
collaborative tutoring, and learning that responds to the learners’
important that the different dimensions of collaboration are
understood, particularly given the new challenges and opportunities
associated with the digital revolution. A clear
framework for collaboration in ODL and other education approaches
would guide planning and implementation of development learning.
Creating and structuring
opportunities for people to network, communicate, mentor, and learn
from each other can help capture, formalize, and diffuse tacit
knowledge. Communities become a boundary-less container for knowledge
and relationships that can be used to increase individual
enhance community development.
Kaplan, Building Communities--Strategies for Collaborative
American Society for Training and Development (ASTD),