Collaborative learning has the potential to greatly enrich the learning experience. Groups of learners can work more efficiently to build shared knowledge and to deepen the understanding of complex topics. 

The success of collaborative learning often hinges on employing appropriate strategies that acknowledge the stages of group development and respond to potential conflicts. Determining appropriate “instructor presence” is an ongoing challenge as the needs of online learners change as they move through the course.

As learners move through an online course, they learn and develop confidence in the course environment, understand the nature of participation expected and required, and, hopefully, take leadership roles in group activities. With appropriate facilitator support, they will also develop their skills at working together to accomplish targeted learning outcomes.

Facilitator interventions may include monitoring and responding to the direction of online debates and discussion and modelling positive ways of posing challenging, thought-provoking questions.