NPDL Collaboration

What is Collaboration?

Today our students are increasingly required to be highly collaborative global citizens who can work effectively in teams and who can learn from and contribute to the learning of others.

They will need to demonstrate responsible social networking skills and empathy in working with a diverse range of people. To be able to work collaboratively with others and in a team is a competency that is essential in learning in life and success in workplaces, families and communities.

People collaborate every day in a variety of learning environments - in schools, universities, work, communities - both face-to-face and online. The depth and impact of this collaboration is dependent on how well learners communicate, the partnerships established with peers and the authentic connections they can make with experts and people of all ages in the wider community.

Links: AITSL: The Essential Guide to Professional Learning: Collaboration

ted radio hour collaborate

The Essential Guide series unpacks the research behind key themes of The Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders and The Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework. The Essential Guide series provides insights and practical strategies to help teachers and school leaders engage in effective professional growth. The Essential Guide to Professional Learning: Collaboration explores the importance of collaborative professional learning as well as the role of the school leader in supporting a collaborative learning culture.

Is your school's professional learning culture collaborative?

Consider the following:

  • What support is provided to teachers to facilitate collaboration?
  • How is an effective culture of collaboration developed and maintained?
  • Is collaboration driven by clear and measurable goals for improvement?
  • How are learnings translated to classroom practice?

What does Collaboration look like?

Working interdependently as a team

Effective collaboration occurs when learners work interdependently as a team using, developing and adding to the skill sets of each team member.

This requires shared substantive decision-making, drawing on and combining the strengths and perspectives of the whole team.

When learners demonstrate a highly effective and synergistic approach to working interdependently they not only leverage each member’s strengths but provide opportunities for each to build on those strengths and learn new skills. This includes ensuring that team decisions are discussed at a deep level, ensuring each team member’s strengths and perspectives are incorporated to come to the best possible decision that benefits all.

Find out more

Watch these videos:

Structuring Collaboration for Student Success

Kid President - Pep Talk about Teamwork and Leadership

Read these articles:

Interpersonal and team related communication and skills

This occurs when learners take an active responsibility, both individually and collectively, for ensuring that the collaborative process works as effectively as possible, that each person’s ideas and expertise are used to maximum advantage, and that each work product or outcome is of the highest possible quality or value.

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Read this article:

Social, emotional, and intercultural skills and understanding


When learners have highly developed social and emotional skills grounded in a clear sense of their individual and cultural identity, they are able to communicate well and form positive relationships across cultures and disciplines. Understanding the perspectives of others, empathising with them and being able to modify behaviour helps learners to work effectively in teams, and form positive relationships. The skills they develop empathy, understanding someone else's perspective and changing their behaviour as a result – clearly enhance how well the team functions.

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Read this article:

Managing team dynamics and challenges


Effective collaboration requires the ability to manage team dynamics and challenges. This requires the courage to express a personal point of view whilst maintaining empathy to listen and learn from others. In this way, the learners in the team respectfully explore different opinions in ways that enrich both their own and others' learning and thinking, allowing the team to move forward in the direction that the team identifies.

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Watch this video:

Chopstick Challenge

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Leveraging digital for collaboration


This occurs when learners use digital elements (resources, tools, devices) ubiquitously throughout a task in order to deepen the quality of collaboration and encourage innovation. Throughout this process, learners need to be able to articulate in detail how each digital element has contributed to, accelerated and enhanced the team’s learning. They can then apply that understanding to new and different contexts.

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Investigate tools for collaboration

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