In this approach the social and collaboration aspects are the main focus of the event/course / workshop (rather than the content per se) so that the learners fully participate in it, and are active in contributing to it as well as co-creating content.
In other words, it uses a social constructivism, learner-centric; “guide on the side” approach (where the learners are equal partners in the process), and therefore involves a highly collaborative and participative approach to learning.
Collaborative formal learning involves a different – lite – design approach, that focuses on:
- being task-driven – i.e. focused around carrying out practical or reflective activities – rather than just reading content
- promotes social conversation, collaboration and co-creation of content – so that the participants fully contribute to the event and help to build the value in terms of sharing thoughts, experiences as well as resources.
- using simplified content that supports tasks – not overly stylized content, but rather employs a variety of (embedded) resource, videos, presentations, etc to add interest and variety
- being evaluated (in the workplace) in terms of performance objectives – wherever possible self-evaluated against personal and professional performance objectives – rather than learning objectives. (I recognize in education, that this may not be possible, but certainly in training, the objectives need to be performance-related – i.e. what are you going to do (better) as a result of this training, rather than simply what are you going to learn on it.).
You can read more about how we use the facilitated collaborative learning approach at the Social Learning Centre, in Facilitating collaborative learning: a recipe for success, Jane Hart, e.learning age magazine, September 2012
This approach is similar to that used in MOOC (Massive Open Online Course, see Designing and running a MOOC (in 9 easy steps (George Siemens, elearnspace, 4 September 2012) for more on this.