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According to Dictionary.com, collaboration is the act or process of working with one another.  This is a short answer that does not encompass the entire meaning of the word.  My personal definition of collaboration is two or more people engaging in an activity together that is meant to produce a concrete outcome.  I initially wanted to say a positive outcome; however, two people can collaborate for negative outcomes as well.  Collaboration is more than just teamwork.  Collaboration is being able to start something that will change the world in some way.  Teamwork describes all activities in which multiple people work together whether in sports or academics.  This makes teamwork different from collaboration.

Collaboration fosters learning because you are interacting with people who, most likely, view the world differently than you do.  They have different strengths and weaknesses.  If you remain open-minded, you will be able to see the world through another person’s point of view.  This may be just the exercise that you needed to be able to finally understand a concept.  You also have the opportunity to help another person with one of your strengths.  Recently, I read that you do not truly understand a topic until you can explain it to someone else.  In collaboration, you get the chance to help a fellow classmate with a topic she may not understand.  You may need to attempt to understand the way in which she thinks which can create a deeper understanding of the topic.  All this means that collaboration is a two-way street which continually fosters learning and opportunities for growth.

References:

collaborate. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/collaborate