Collaboration as a much needed 21st competence
Collaboration is one of competences which 21st century skills advocates put forward.
This may be considered by policy makers, theorists and others as an obvious competence which learners should possess. It can be argued that to thrive in today’s society, citizens need to collaborate with other citizens, with services provided by state and private entities. Educationalist promoting the enhancement of 21st century competences, are realizing that nowadays this is somewhat possible much more than in the past. Technology provides a rich platform through which collaboration may propagate.
Today’s workplace, our everyday life, interaction, socialisation has evolved somewhat. Social media one such example showing how individuals or so keen to interact with others. Such interaction might be indepth, many times just lurking around. What’s evident is that we feel the need to collaborate as we constantly need to work with someone else to produce or create.
Learning to collaborate or Collaborate to learn?
In reality, collaboration is a skill, attitude, mindset for which individuals need to unlearn to relearn. From a very young age, collaboration is challenged by another ‘competence’; competition. Youngsters are motivated to learn by reaching goals before their peers, get the ‘best’ grades when compared to their class mates. Competition in correct doses is helpful. Yet too much competition stalls cooperation, mostly it stalls pure collaboration. Rather than learning to collaborate so as to learn from each other and gain in-depth knowledge and skills, we are offering learners knowledge which needs to be learnt as individuals rather than critically reflect upon as groups of individuals. We need to rethink how to learn. In such a quest we need to rethink what, how and where to collaborate.