Collaborative learning: A connected community for learning and knowledge management

John Rae (University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK)
Gary Taylor (University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK)
Carole Roberts (University of Salford, Salford M5 4WT, UK)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 1 August 2006


Collaborative Learning in group settings currently occurs across a substantial portion of the UK Higher Education curriculum. This style of learning has many roots including: Enterprise in Higher Education, Action Learning and Action Research, Problem Based Learning, and Practice Based Learning. As such our focus on Collaborative Learning development can be viewed as an evolutionary step. This collaborative and active group learning provides the foundation for what can be collectively called connectivist ‘Learning Communities’. In this setting a primary feature of a ‘Learning Community’ is one that carries a responsibility to promote one another’s learning. It goes further: Senior managers are mature and experienced learners; practitioners that are seeking to link experiential learning with the application of interesting concepts that aid analysis and understanding of real issues. This is collaborative and dynamic demand‐pull learning and not static supply‐push. Should we not aim in HE to combine learning and knowledge management? This paper will outline a developmental collaborative learning approach and describe a supporting software environment, known as the Salford Personal Development Environment (SPDE), that has been developed and implemented to assist in delivering collaborative learning for post graduate and other provision. This is done against a background of much research evidence that group based activity can enhance learning. These findings cover many approaches to group based learning and over a significant period of time. Within this we explore how collaboration, learning, and knowledge management all serve to create a connected community. This paper reports on work‐in‐progress and the features of the environment that are designed to help promote individual and group or community learning that have been influenced by the broad base of research findings in this area.



Rae, J., Taylor, G. and Roberts, C. (2006), "Collaborative learning: A connected community for learning and knowledge management", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 3 No. 3, pp. 225-233.

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Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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