As I ended my stay at Harvard, I take back the biggest learning with me “It’s not about the classroom…” my stay at Harvard was not about classroom alone. It was more about applying learnings from the classroom into the real life. When a class of few hours is followed by a group assignment of more than the class hours, learning increases manifold.
Collaborative learning is no longer a theoretical concept; I saw the practical implementation in my summer course. Focused group discussions inside the vast Harvard libraries along with tools ‘n’ technology made the collaborative learning fun ‘n’ practical. While, human interactions and exchange of ideas were at its best face-to-face, I got a practical usage of tools like Canvas and GoogleDocs in learning.
My course introduced me to real clients and their challenges. Before finishing the course, we had to present a solution to overcome their challenge. Hence, whatever we learnt inside the classroom had to take the form of a solution, which the group either discussed in a library or a cafe.
The time we invested in crafting the solution was collaborative. We got a different challenge everyday with different team members. In the hindsight, I feel the real world challenges we got in the class everyday brought people from different countries and nationalities together. It did not take us long to get onto the same pedestal with regards to applying our classroom concepts in real-life situations.
I saw cultural diversity, age differences, and technology adoption speed reduced through the process of collaborative learning. It is crucial to consider the interactive processes among people, but the most critical point is the construction of new knowledge brought about through joint work. We got a tough challenge of making our final presentation through a mechanism other than a powerpoint presentation (preferably)! Everyone in the class came up with different options – Facebook live!, Video, Website, Quiz and a Board meeting to present their solution. No Powerpoint, and yet, the message was delivered more effectively. This was a perfect example of collaborative learning. In addition, our teachers and clients were impressed by our approach.
My collaborative learning continues after the course ends as I deep dive into topics of my interest.
So what are you waiting for – it’s time to get inside the classroom… so that you learn outside the classroom!