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Collaboration skills for the workplace

This course encourages you to reflect on the nature of collaboration and the different forms it can take. You'll engage with practical examples by watching video clips that show collaboration in action and reading relevant case studies that demonstrate how powerful collaboration can be. You'll be presented with some specific skills and behaviours that will increase the probability of successful collaboration in your working life.

Standalone study only

You will not be awarded credits for studying this course. It is available for standalone study only and cannot be counted towards an OU qualification.

Short course

Short course code



This is a non-credit bearing course.

Study method

Short course cost

Entry requirements

What you will study

You will have opportunities to consider your own approach to collaboration, and how you might become an even more effective colleague in terms of collaboration and therefore improve your overall levels of performance. You will explore collaboration within organisations, and more widely, with particular reference to the different elements of a supply chain.

The course comprises four units:

Unit 1: The changing nature of work
The course begins by looking at how work is changing and the enduring importance of collaboration. You'll note the role of positive attitudes and behaviours in maximising the success of collaborative efforts, consider different forms of collaboration and be encouraged to assess which might be most effective in which particular situation. You'll see real life examples to illustrate the theory.

Unit 2: Collaboration across supply chains
In this unit you'll take a brief look at supply chains, and the problems that arise when they are disrupted. This highlights the importance of collaboration up and down the supply chain, and gives some examples of how it has been successfully deployed.

Unit 3: The importance of purpose
Collaborative approaches are much more likely to succeed if there is a strong sense of shared purpose. You'll explore how you can generate that shared excitement, as well as some other practical steps you can take to encourage collaboration. You'll also look at examples of complex collaborative projects and draw out the key learning points, and you will be asked to reflect on your own experience and to identify what went well, and what could have been better.

Unit 4: Strategies and approaches for effective collaboration
You'll continue to explore the practical steps that you can take to promote even more effective collaboration and the role of personality profiling as an additional way to help people get to know each other. You'll encounter the case study of the Crick Institute, a biomedical research centre, and reflect on ways that collaboration can be designed into institutions: from the building itself, to the organisational structure and the planning of projects. As always, you'll be encouraged to reflect on your readings and your own experience to draw out points for your own continued development.

You will learn

By studying this course, you'll be able to:

  • understand the value of collaboration in the workplace
  • explain different forms of collaboration and when each might be most appropriate
  • identify potential challenges to successful collaboration and how they might be overcome
  • assess your own competence in collaborating with colleagues, both within and beyond your organisation
  • identify specific skills you wish to develop.

Learner support

This course was designed to be independently studied with no tutor support. StudentHome is a dedicated website that provides general study support and there is a computing helpdesk. 

Teaching and assessment


There an end-of-course quiz to test your knowledge and understanding. Once completed and successfully passed you will receive a digital badge and a course completion certificate which you can download as a record of your learning.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations, which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

Entry requirements

There are no formal academic requirements.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact us.

Course length

The course will require around 10 hours to complete.

You can begin at any time during the life of the course and study at your own pace.


Start End England fee Register
At anytime before registration end date Jan 2025 - see Entry requirements for more detail £150.00

Registration closes 31/07/2024


Ways to pay

Credit/Debit Card – We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron.

Sponsorship – If this course is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could ask your employer to sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. Your sponsor just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.

The fee information provided here is valid for short courses starting in the 2024/25 academic year. Fees typically increase annually. For further information about the University's fee policy, visit our Fee Rules.

Can you study an Access module for free?

Depending on eligibility and availability of places, you could apply to study your Access module for free.

To qualify, you must:

  1. be resident in England
  2. have a household income of not more than £25,000 (or be in receipt of a qualifying benefit)
  3. have not completed one year or more on any full-time undergraduate programme at FHEQ level 4 or above or successfully completed 30 credits or more of OU study within the last 10 years

How to apply to study an Access module for free

Once you've started the registration process, either online or over the phone, we'll contact you about your payment options. This will include instructions on how you can apply to study for free if you are eligible and funded places are still available.

If you're unsure if you meet the criteria to study for free, you can check with one of our friendly advisers on +44 (0)300 303 0069, or you can request a call back.

Not eligible to study for free?

Don't worry! We offer a choice of flexible ways to help spread the cost of your Access module. The most popular options include:

  • monthly payments through OUSBA
  • part-time tuition fee loan (you'll need to be registered on a qualification for this option)

To explore all the options available to you, visit Fees and Funding.

What's included

All learning materials, exercises, study support and end of course quiz are delivered entirely online. 

Computing requirements

You'll need broadband internet access and a desktop or laptop computer with an up-to-date version of Windows (10 or 11), or macOS Ventura or higher.

Functionality may be limited on mobile devices. For example, voice recorder activities, which are common in language short courses, may not work on iOS/Apple devices.

Our module websites comply with web standards and any modern browser is suitable for most activities.

Our OU Study mobile App will operate on all current, supported versions of Android and iOS. It's not available on Kindle.

It's also possible to access some module materials on a mobile phone, tablet device or Chromebook. However, as you may be asked to install additional software or use certain applications, you'll also require a desktop or laptop as described above.

If you have a disability

The course is delivered online and makes use of a variety of online resources. If you use specialist hardware or software to assist you in using a computer or the internet you are advised to contact us about support which can be given to meet your needs.

The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying BGXS005 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.