Online Learning July 19, 2022

Excellent Collaborative Learning Strategies 2024

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Collaborative Learning Strategies

As thousands of students and learners move to online learning, educators find it challenging to adapt in-person classes for remote learning. Many instructors can do a much better job keeping students hooked while teaching online. Currently, they are stuffing courses with passive education activities, making online learning boring for students. However, the need of the hour is that educators employ different collaborative learning strategies to keep students engaged. 

The slapdash Zoom lectures can keep students engaged for only a short time, making it easier for learners to get distracted, disengage and tune out.

Educators must get students to tune back by adopting diverse collaborative learning activities. This, in turn, will encourage learners to get involved with the learning process, material, and each other. Also, studies prove that online collaborative activities enhance academic performance, knowledge retention, and interpersonal skills.

Collaborative Learning Strategies for Student Engagement

We have compiled a list of our favorite collaborative learning strategies that can quickly improve the online learning process and keep students engaged throughout the course.

Jigsaw Technique

The jigsaw technique is one of the most effective methods to help students process and retain information. It builds on the method called “teaching others.” To use this from all the collaborative learning strategies, ask students to learn only a piece of material (jigsaw) and then teach it to fellow learners in a group. Therefore, the group will work together to synthesize the information and then prepare a presentation about what they learned.

Moreover, this technique works best when there are small groups (five or six students) and complex study materials. The educators should divide the lesson into five or six separate sections and assign each student to research one part. For instance, if the task or required reading is about different countries’ approaches to healthcare policy, one learner could examine countries’ overall health and demographics, one could focus on societal views of healthcare, one on the healthcare systems, and one on the overall economic effects of these policies. 

Afterward, bring students back together to meet in small discussion groups, boards, or private video meetings to discuss their learning. It will help them develop a greater understanding of their learning concepts. Then comes the assessment of the group. Finally, assess students’ knowledge of all materials using group presentations, essays, or projects.


It’s a classroom collaborative learning technique, but educators can enact it online hassle-free. In the think-pair-share approach, students are made to work together in pairs to assess, evaluate, analyze or synthesize a lesson. Then they have to share their findings with their fellow students.

think pair share
Credits: medium.com

You have to pair off students to reproduce the think-pair-share technique. First, the educator presents a question at the end of the class; students then meet and discuss their answers before the next session. Instructors should be mindful that the questions are open-ended to provoke meaningful discussion. Then ask learners to share their responses during the class or on discussion board threads. 

When educators have students talk through their responses with fellow students before bringing them to the class enhances the discussion’s quality. In traditional classroom setups, only students who raise their hands get to participate. However, here every individual gets to reflect and share their views.


Only the loudest and most confident students get to participate and share ideas during class discussions. Whereas classroom brainstorming sessions help even the quieter students put forth their thoughts, questions, and concepts. Henceforth, brainwriting is an excellent collaborative learning strategy to encourage students to generate ideas beforehand while ensuring every student gets a chance for thoughtful discussion.

Credits: miro.com

The teacher introduces a discussion topic ahead of the online lesson for brainwriting. Next, pupils brainstorm ideas in their own time and then submit their responses anonymously. These generated ideas provide a jumping-off point for discussion, as everyone can read over the submissions before class. With the changing world, reasons for higher education reshaping are also valid.

Brainwriting levels the playing ground for every student, allowing the shiest ones to participate and potentially provide more creative and exciting ideas than the bold and confident learners. Also, it prevents a phenomenon called anchoring, where early responses significantly impact the discussion’s direction.

Daily Discussion Questions

Online discussion boards are among the simplest collaborative learning activities to facilitate student engagement and enhance learning. Post daily or weekly questions on discussion boards to spark conversation and motivate students to think critically and creatively.

The vital aspect of sparking interesting online discussions is posting thoughtful, open-ended questions that encourage divergent thinking. Educators should ask learners to analyze sources, give opinions, and even provoke a little controversy to get them thinking and talking.

Break-Out Group Discussions

It becomes difficult for some to speak up in large groups in classes with hundreds of students. So instead, segment your class into small breakout groups so that everyone gets a chance to speak. Follow essential strategies for success in online learning.

Smaller breakout groups consisting of 20 people or less are very effective. Each discussion group should have a moderator to facilitate the discussion and manage conflicts and issues that may arise. A teaching assistant or a student volunteer can perform these duties. Instructors can give them guided discussion questions or just let students discuss and ask questions about the study material. 

Larger classes become more manageable with small-group discussions. Pupils can ask for help when they need it and assist and teach each other.

Peer Review

Having pupils review each other’s work is an excellent way to ensure that students get the most out of individual feedback and attention, even when working in large groups. Teachers and students can use tools in online learning to get the most out of it.

Peer Review in Collaborative Learning Strategies

To aid a faultless peer review, anonymously pair students to review each other’s work. Also, provide students with appropriate tools to execute a successful review, such as sample reviews, assessment rubrics, and guidelines on how to give constructive feedback.

The peer-review process benefits both the reviewer and the reviewee. Providing and receiving extensive feedback from fellow students help pupils deepen their understanding of the subject and improve their writing skills.


Scaffolding isn’t just unique to collaborative learning strategies, although it can be a valuable tool for structuring collaborative learning.

A house can’t be built without scaffolding; likewise, you cannot expect learners to do complex coursework without supporting study materials to direct them. Again, SimpliTaught comes in handy, providing supplementary lecture videos to help students learn seamlessly. Therefore, instructional scaffolding is a collaborative learning strategy that helps build more significant concepts on top of simpler ones.

When working in groups, this technique involves giving examples, providing community guidelines, and doing trial run together as a class. So, scaffolding supports pupils as they learn how to work in teams, and then you can remove barriers and let them stand out on their own skills and abilities. Keep yourself updated with the latest eLearning trends after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Set clear expectations for students early on to scaffold appropriately. For instance, if a significant part of a student’s grades depends on discussion board participation, share good comments’ examples, and follow-up questions, and then discuss their attributes.

Another way to scaffold students is by requiring them to read and complete activities related to discussion topics before allowing them to post about the topic. It guarantees that the learners come to discussions well-prepared and ready to make meaningful contributions. Over time, you can decrease the amount of oversight and let students take charge of the discussions, helping them develop their own discussion topics. Here are the pros and cons of online education with all details.

Final Thoughts

The shift to online learning hasn’t been easy, but the above-mentioned collaborative learning strategies can help students feel involved and engaged even through their computer screens.

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