There, the emphasis shifts from traditional teacher-centered instruction to a collective approach. It provides conditions for active participation, shared knowledge, and collaborative problem-solving.

Further reading: Benefits of Collaborative Learning 

What are the 5 elements of collaborative learning in an online classroom?

The crucial elements that ensure the effective collaborative classroom development are:

  • Interdependence of members of a group
  • Individual and group accountability
  • Group skills (referring to leadership, decision-making, and negotiation)
  • Face-to-face interaction and communication 
  • Group processing and reflection

What does a collaborative classroom look like online?

A collaborative online classroom is a digital space where learners engage in interactive and cooperative activities to facilitate group work and start discussions.

Thus, key features that define the appearance of a collaborative classroom include: 

  • Virtual Meeting Spaces: These spaces create a digital environment for students’ synchronous discussions, questions, and collaboration.
  • Forums and Chats: Chats and forums allow learners to start a dialogue, fostering a sense of community and supporting student interaction. 
  • Collaborative Space: To encourage joint projects and shared knowledge creation, collaborative online classrooms need a space or document that can be edited in real-time (for instance Google Docs Miro, or Padlet). 
  • Adaptable Scheduling: Flexibility in class timings, asynchronous discussions, and recorded sessions accommodate various schedules. That way, an instructor can ensure inclusivity and accessibility. 
  • Interactive Multimedia Content: The usage of interactive presentations, videos, and multimedia resources aims to enhance engagement and support different learning styles. 
  • Communication Channels: The more places for discussion, the better. It leads to the usage of announcements, discussion threads, and direct messages. 
  • Breakout Rooms: Lastly, to mimic small group discussions or activities in collaborative classrooms, one can use virtual breakout rooms. They are the spaces that allow students to engage in smaller, more intimate discussions.

How do you create an online collaborative classroom?

To create an online collaborative classroom, you need to make sure you develop the right setting and choose the right tools. It is only possible by considering learning needs and preferences.  

Here are some of the crucial steps that may help you:

Step#1. Define clear objectives

Outline precise learning goals and identify areas where collaboration can enhance the learning experience. 

Further Reading: Cooperation vs Collaboration

Step#2. Determine learning needs

Next, identify the learning needs. For instance, if you need only a group discussion, then the virtual meeting space would be enough. Yet, if you want to organize group assignments or projects, you will need collaborative spaces and assignments.

Step#3. Incorporate collaborative tools

Based on the learning needs, think of the collaborative tools you can use in your collaborative classrooms. They refer to real-time document editing, shared note-taking, conferencing, brainstorming, or other collaborative projects.

Step#4. Create interactive multimedia content

Generate interactive multimedia content to enhance engagement. In this regard, incorporate videos, interactive presentations, and multimedia resources to cater to diverse learning styles. 

Step#5. Develop a system that provides interaction and support

Once, you have content and determined tools, create a collaborative system. It can be in the form of a learning management system or a set of tools. Yet, make sure it will be suitable to provide pedagogical support, gather feedback, and build decent collaborative classrooms online.