There is growing recognition of the power of collaboration in achieving increased impact in educational interventions. This paper explores collaboration from the following perspectives:
•Presenting arguments by social investors in education for the benefits of collaboration.
•Surveying key themes in selected literature on collaboration typologies, motivations, goals, and key dynamics such as enablers and barriers to collaboration.
•Sharing lessons from practice to illustrate different ways of collaborating and the drivers at work in collaboration.
This paper presents three examples of collaborative projects in which BRIDGE has been involved. BRIDGE runs reflective communities of practice in a number of focus areas in education in order to link stakeholders and share practices and resources. Two of the collaborative projects grew out of different communities of practice, the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Community of Practice and the Maths and Science Learner Support Community of Practice. Each had very different outputs, one involving a collaborative pilot to test a self-reflection tool for ECD practitioners, and the other resulting in a comprehensive online information repository on post-school access to different learning pathways. Each project took a different trajectory in relation to a number of process dynamics. The third example deals with BRIDGE’s participation in a formal consortium in response to a funded project on teacher education. Our knowledge management function in this project supports our key responsibility for tracking collaborative processes in order to develop a Collaboration Model for Designing Programme Frameworks.
Each of these examples are explored in relation to the themes identified in the literature, discussing ways in which roles and responsibilities are defined, the mechanisms which enable collaboration, conditions for success and barriers encountered.