There are five moments of need in each successful learning experience, according to taxonomy creators Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson.
The Five Moments of Need are:
learning how to do something for the first time
expanding the breadth and depth of what they have learned
acting upon what has been learned, including planning or adapting to a unique situation
using new knowledge when problems arise or when things don’t work as intended
a change in skills or habits that are deeply ingrained in their practices
Each of these sequential moments of need must be met in order for learners to internalize the new materials so that they become a part of daily habits.
Collaborative learning meets all Five Moments of Need, with a particular focus on the need to apply, solve, and change, while other traditional corporate learning methodologies stop at new and more.
Because the steps of applying and solving are done socially in collaborative learning, participants aren’t just turning in work that shows how they could apply skills or solve a problem. They are instead actively learning and receiving feedback on their work from peers, which deepens their understanding of the materials and greatly improves the chances of change, where these new skills become internalized and part of learners’ new reality.
Collaborative learning goes beyond meeting the Five Moments of Need. It also elevates learning in accordance to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Higher Learning.
First created in 1956 under the leadership of educational psychologist Dr. Benjamin Bloom, Bloom’s Taxonomy promotes higher forms of thinking in education over rote learning and remembering facts. It starts similarly to the Five Moments of Need: level one is remembering (recalling facts), level two
is understanding (explaining concepts) – level two is, again, is where most e-Learning stops – while level three is applying (using information in situations), which some, but not all event-based learning manages to achieve.
Levels four, five, and six (analyzing, evaluating, and creating) emphasize the ability to draw connections among various ideas, justify one’s stance or decision, and the production of new or original work that uses the information.
Collaboration elevates learning quickly and easily to the higher levels of learning outlined in Bloom’s Taxonomy by introducing group problem-solving, peer evaluation and the creation by groups of original works as a regular part of the collaborative experience.
The thinking skills which rank higher on Bloom’s taxonomy, such as applying, analyzing, and creating, are difficult to achieve in solitary settings. Collaborative learning emphasizes group-driven learning in which knowledge application is enhanced by the added perspectives of fellow learners.
When applying knowledge as part of a team, such as when groups must solve problematic scenarios together, learners must debate ideas, address assumptions, present alternatives, and defend their perspectives to fellow learners. This demands a deeper understanding of concepts than simply remembering and understanding what they are. When these collaborations occur, new concepts are being internalized and can be applied more readily and more regularly by learners.
This is just one section of our definitive guide to collaborative online learning.