Can collective work be fairly be presented for individual assessment as evidence of competence. For example, would less technically adept group members be justified in claiming that their own competence had been enhanced by working together on this with others who were more proficient? How could they evidence such a claim?
I think that collaborative elearning activities actually have significant advantages when it comes to identifying the input from individuals for group activities.
Virtually all tools used for collaborative elearning activities have some method of recording who made what contribution. This includes emails, forum posts, the history or site activity of a collaborative website or wiki, etc. In order to make a full assessment of an individuals actives it may be necerasary to view all artefacts and communication involved in an activity. For example an assessor may look at the history of a website and see that the majority of content was added by one individual, It may take further investigation to realise that the rest of the group contributed more in research and writing content, which was collated and put onto the website by a single individual.
Is this kind of separation of tasks justified for a group task? I think it depends on the task, the course and what the individuals are expected to contribute. If the task outcome of the task was for everyone to get a working knowledge of the technical issues related to creating and editing a website, then the individual who did the technical work may be seen as the only one who has been successful. If the objective is for all individuals to research and understand the content, then it could be argued that the individual who put their efforts into putting together the website, is the only one who has actually failed the task.
I think there are alot of major drawbacks in doing collaborative tasks through elearning as opposed to face to face. These include the time the task requires and confusion and tension which can come from a lack of face to face communication. Despite this I do think that identifying and assessing individual contribution is one area where elearning has the advantage.