is a Collaborative Open Learning research community for cocreating knowledge, skills and practices with new technologies and methodologies.
This community was founded in 2000 by Dr. Okada in Brazil and became an international network in 2006 during the OpenLearn project developed by The Open University, UK.
The acronym “C” “O” “L”earn means Collaborative Open Learning. More than 3.500 members joined the community and have been participating in various collaborative open learning projects such as OpenLearn (2006-2009) OpenScout (2010-2012), weSPOT (2013-2015) and ENGAGE (2014-2016).
The term colearning was initially defined in 1996 by Frank Smith in the book “Joining the Literacy Club”. This concept was used to emphasize the importance of changing the role of, respectively, teachers and students from dispensers and receptacles of knowledge to both colearners – collaborative partners on the process of sensemaking, understanding and creating knowledge together. A decade later, Brantmeier (2005) described that colearning acts toward student- centered learning for building a more genuine “community of practice” through dynamic and participatory engagement for collective construction of knowledge.
Okada’s research (2002, 2006, 2008) defines colearning as “learning together for co-creating open knowledge through digital technologies”. Her work about colearning is grounded on Paulo Freire’s approach for emancipatory education. Her research situates colearning in the context of emerging technologies, which allow the development of knowledge, practices and skills for responsible research and innovation.
Based on the philosophy of openness, the process of colearning is enriched through wide participation for creating, adapting and sharing reusable OER for co-authoring knowledge with and for society (Okada 2012). Due to the rapid increase of co-authoring technologies and innovative pedagogies, several features which differentiate “colearning in social networks” versus the “traditional e-learning in Virtual Learning Environments” (VLE) emerged. Some of these features are: educators as “competence and knowledge mediators”, students as “colearners coauthors”, flexible curriculum integrating formal and informal learning, open multimedia content, communities of practice, co-evaluation, peer- review assessment and collaborative open learning paths.
The COLEARN network aims to investigate how these diverse features have been contributing to the process of emancipatory education, which means empowering colearners to become critical thinkers, creative collaborators, innovative researchers and responsible citizens.
Keywords: CoLearning, co-Inquiry,Responsible Research and Innovation Knowledge Mapping, Knowledge Media, Open Educational Resources, Massive Open Networks, ubiquitous Learning, 21st Century Competences.