This study explores the role that failure can play in the development of classroom learning communities that seek to enculturate students into the creative collaboration practices involved in knowledge building cultures. We investigated an innovative course for graduate students in an educational technologies program where students were given progressively greater social responsibility over their learning. The results of our grounded theoretical analysis elucidate three general phases of productive social failure. In the first phase, two different emergent approaches to collaborative learning – coordinated collaboration and free collaboration – were found. In the second phase, we describe four possible reasons why these different approaches could lead to social failures. These include crossing a red line, a context of growing tensions, more developed cognitive frameworks, and closer interpersonal relationships. In the last phase, we found how having learning communities work through conflicts can result in three types of creative collaboration – about the community, others in the community, and oneself in the community. This paper advances the understanding of how non-directive approaches regarding the social aspects of learning communities can be productive.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the I-CORE Program of the Planning and Budgeting Committee and The Israel Science Foundation grant 1716/12 .
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd
- Creative collaboration
- Group dynamics
- Learning communities
- Productive failure
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