Joyful Jubilant Learning 2006 continues on Rosa Say’s Talking Story, with excellent posts and discussion from the community. I will be the guest author Tuesday, September 26, with a post that asks, Have We Entered Learning 3.0?
With my attention focused on learning, I found this great post titled Struggling to Learn Together. The author, Tom Harris, discusses how colleges are struggling to balance “academic integrity” with real-world expectations for employees to share knowledge with colleagues and to learn together. In academia, a fine line is drawn between collaboration and cheating. However, I have to wonder how prudent it is to stifle collaborative learning.
In the very entertaining post, Harris explores how the ski instruction industry might apply the learning approach used by academia.
Imagine this set of rules posted on a snow-covered wooden sign next to the practice area:
Integrity on the Slopes
In order to ensure that each student is graded correctly and fairly in their skiing lessons, the following rules must be observed:
* Watch only the ski instructor — no peeking at others on their practice runs.
* No talking about how to ski, even on breaks.
* Unless skiing together has been specifically approved, it is not allowed.
Who would pay for ski instruction under these conditions? Who would learn to ski?
A Simpler Idea
Back to academics, or rather, training in the hi-tech workplace, why not just say:
* Cooperative learning is essential: work with others
* All sources may be used; if not yours, credit the author
I’m sure there are many reasons to limit teamwork and collaboration in higher education, not the least of which are to maintain the real and perceived values of academic degrees. However, to the extent that institutions seek to teach collegians how to learn, then finding ways to promote collaborative learning deserves continued attention.