The traditional paradigm for learning involves an
instructor presenting information to a group of
students. Following instruction, the students are
asked to complete an assessment such as an exam
or written paper to help the instructor measure
their understanding of the material. The instructor
grades the assessment and determines whether or
not the student understands the material. This
model gives a great deal of power to the instructor
as the sole distributor of information and privileges
the instructor's point of view on a given subject.
In an age of technology and globalization, it is no
longer a viable option to privilege a single point of
view or way of doing things. As a result,
researchers have started to look at models of
learning that encourage learners (students) to
work together to challenge existing ideas and produce
ideas on the cutting edge. Fortune 500 companies,
such as Wachovia, Sony and even the
seemingly bureaucratic IRS, are incorporating collaborative
learning into their organizational cultures.
This paper discusses the definition and basic elements
of computer supported collaborative learning.
It also includes information about the benefits
of fostering collaborative learning within organizations.