“When you think about Project-Based learning, you think about learning that results in demonstrations of performers and real tasks that have bought challenges to students to solve”, said Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor, Stanford University School of Education.
Project based learning results in greater enhancement of student learning. As we know collaboration is a heart to PBL, it’s the first component which needs utmost attention. Collaboration is the act of joining together to complete a task effectively. Tasks can be accomplished effectively and easily when a group of people work together instead individuals doing it alone. But people don’t always communicate well, so, effective collaboration needs some practices. If you’re an administrator who wishes your staff to work collaboratively in improving organization, an educator who wishes to have your students doing projects effectively with good collaboration among peers or a student who is a tactile learner seeks some tips for a better collaboration with his teammates; you’re at a right place. I’d like to focus on the steps an individual need to make for a better collaboration with his peers on project.
Have a clear goal and make sure everyone in your team is aware of it:
To do a task together, the team should be aware of the entire output they need to bring. If you’re a leader, make sure your team members are aware of the goal or if you’re a member, have a clear idea about your goal. The collaboration will be effective only when everyone knows the theme.
Know your role in the team:
A project needs a group of learners or people working together to learn something or to complete a task. The group will have few sub groups or individuals work for a particular sub task. Every team member has a particular task to do. Choose the task or subject area in which you have good expertise, communicate with the people of similar interest and know your role completely. This helps the entire team do the whole task efficiently and collaboratively.
Pen all the tasks on a paper, discuss among the group, divide your roles and start working.
You need to be an efficient, disciplined, responsible member of the team so that you’ll be treated as trust worthy and loyal. These qualities help your team works together in a great collaborative environment.
Motivation drives the team members to focus more on a project. This is an essential part of collaboration.
Members of the project may need to work apart for a specific task to be done at different locations. Your team doesn’t always need to have regular meetings. Technology nowadays makes conversations instant. Use Google Hangouts, Skype or WizIQ for video conferencing and social networking sites or blogs for discussions. The use of technology saves your time and makes the conversations instant and real time.
Eliminate the unnecessary communications:
It’s similar to the above strategy. Sometimes individual members need to make decisions quickly. It’s not necessary to wait for all the members’ approval and opinion on tasks that need simple decisions. Frequent meetings to discuss on simple problems may cost your time.
Be a good collaborator (follow this checklist):
Do not hesitate to appreciate your peer:
Talk about your peer’s success and appreciate him if he does something good in his work. This encourages him to be more efficient and also leads to a better collaboration between both. If they have something wrong, it’s better to give feedback privately.
Listen and understand your team mate’s point of view before suggesting a change:
Do not rush. If you find something wrong, wait for your team member to explain his entire approach and then think for the change. Do not disagree without knowing his actual intention to do a particular task. This helps you become a good collaborator.
Improve your relation:
Offer help to your peer with information or resources.
Don’t delay replies to your peers’ emails or messages.
Make disagreements offline:
If you seriously don’t agree to an approach of your peer, it’ll be better to convey it personally instead in a group.
Avoid gossiping about your peers.
Do not point out any peer’s mistake publicly.
Don’t blame other departments. Feel responsible for the entire goal instead of a particular task of yours.
I hope this information helped you know a list few steps and tips for a better collaboration among peers. I welcome you to share your views on collaboration among peers. Please feel free to share your practices of effective collaboration in the comment box.