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From the earliest explorations in online education theory and practice, collaborative learning (CL) has proven to be a powerful principle of e-learning design and delivery. E-learning has been shaped by, and is also shaping, learning theory, especially that of collaborative learning.

Collaborative learning is an interactive group knowledge-building process. The term collaboration derives from the concept of co-laboring, whereby people work jointly (especially to create physical, social, cultural, or intellectual artifacts). In educational usage, collaborative learning refers to the process whereby learners work together to build knowledge by formulating their ideas into words and then developing these ideas/concepts as they react to other students' responses (positive, negative, questioning, elaborating, etc.) to their formulations. There is ultimately a level of convergence, either of agreement (intellectual or co-production, ...

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