Collaborate to co-elaborate knowledge : between necessity and opportunity

In the literature within the field of Information Sciences and Communication, there is no consensus about the definitions of the terms “collaboration” and “cooperation” as a mode of work. In order to fill this gap, we decided to conduct a case study to gather the existing mental representations of an educational community in a junior high school (collège) in the department of Vaucluse in the south of France, about the conception of “collaborative” and “cooperative” work. In this puspose we manage to apply a content analysis methodology combined with a systemic and a constructivist approach to collect and analyze these mental representations. This collection allows us to identify both the objective and the subjective perceptions about collaboration and cooperation existing within this community.

From these perceptions, our main proposition in this paper is to set up a referencial framework for best practices in collaboration to proceed to the “deconstruction” of imperfect mental representations, held as obvious, and to replace them by constructing a correct appropriation. The aim is to properly capture the concepts and practices they imply. Actually, collaboration, boosted by the use of the Internet becomes an area where knowledge is constructed by the interaction between individual knowledge and ressources from the social interactions with the context.

This synergy build a collective experience that enhance the individual capacities to be competent in various situations. For these reasons, nowadays the practice of collaboration is both a neccesity and an opportuny to well done activities and to innovate.