Collaboration is a social process by which individuals interact in groups to develop their knowledge and work towards achieving a set goal. Collaboration is becoming more widely used in classrooms, amongst educators, and in other professions outside of education. However, working with others is not always the easiest task as we often face many bumps along the way. Here are 5 crucial components of collaborations that should help to make any group project progress more smoothly.
- Establish a Common Ground: For collaborations to be successful, all participants must be aware of the goal that is set out to be achieved. If there are misunderstandings at this level, it will further impact the work that students and others put into solving a problem. Once everyone is on the same page, it is more likely that successful cooperation can follow.
- Set Roles: If members of a collaboration are unaware of their role, motivation and interest can easily be lost. Members might begin to question “what am I even doing here?” or arguments might be introduced over who should take on which tasks. Collaborations will work more smoothly if roles are established before the work begins.
- Engage in Discourse: It’s important to consistently engage in discourse throughout the collaborative process. By doing so we can ask questions, make arguments, or seek clarification that help to ensure that the group has a common understanding of what has taken place throughout the entirety of the process and can further develop a shared knowledge of the task at hand. It’s important to remember that no member should be left behind. In collaborations, knowledge and understanding should be shared and mutual.
- Reflect: Reflecting on progress is crucial because it allows for an opportunity to determine where any missteps might have been made. It also provides an opportunity to reroute your plan in making progress toward your goal if something has been discovered to be a more useful or useless tactic throughout the process. Reflections allow the group to continually analyze what is taking place within the process and evaluate what can be done, if anything, to promote even more progress.
- Celebrate: Last, but not least, it’s always important to celebrate your success. Collaborations are hard work and should be rewarded. The knowledge that has been gained and the discoveries that have been made should be shared and celebrated. Don’t forget- rewards are a great opportunity to keep groups motivated when embarking on their next collaborative task!
Once again, collaborations might seem like difficult task, with differing opinions and ideas, but in the long run they allow for a richer knowledge to be gained that can be shared by the entire group, an outcome well worth the effort!