The role of platforms in online collaborative learning and how to get there

The role of platforms in online collaborative learning and how to get there

Throughout the Online Networked Learning course there were several discussions about how we should embrace collaborative learning and its benefits. This is a challenge problem by itself, which makes online collaborative learning an even tougher task to accomplish. 

They say that the system, being the environment and/or the rules, creates the culture! Similarly, for online collaborative learning, while we understand the imminent benefits, what is missing in the system that will create the culture. It is evident that we need to build such a system, that is a platform, that not only facilitates collaborative learning, but it encourages it as well. There are several available platforms out there for learning. However, instead of simply offering a one-way broadcast, an online collaborative platform should allow and encourage learners to interact with each other, share their thoughts, ideas and knowledge, and eventually grow together!

Such a platform needs adjustments and tuning until it achieves the main target, since setting the environment is not an easy task. Additionally, once such a platform is set up, it is essential to monitor the undergoing activities for supporting the platform and giving it the full potential. So, I understand it is not an easy task to setup, tune, and monitor. But it is definitely something with immense impact.

So, if it is that useful and desirable, why is such a platform still missing? This question has been stuck in my mind for a while and this post was on hold for this reason. Then, I started thinking: Who should make this platform? Who should fund the creation, operation and monitoring? Should the creators expect it to be profitable (in the economic sense)? 

Then, I went one step further. How do you convince an institution or a funding body to invest money on such a platform? Would this course be the beginning of something great through its members? Should the funding body and advertisers be the crowd of this course? That would be something big! And great!

Some sources of inspiration:

Roberts, T. (2007). Seven Problems of Online Group Learning (and Their Solutions). 

Blayone T. et al (2017). Democratizing digital learning: theorizing the fully online learning community mode 

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