Modern management education promotes active learning and peer interaction through group work regarding it as a critical aspect of the learning process. Given the rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) it is imperative to comprehend how collaboration can be fostered in such digital learning environments. Synthesizing theories on individual cognition and collective interaction, we advance a research model of individual and communal beliefs about collaboration as salient drivers of collaborative intentions. Analytical results indicate that attitudes toward collaboration at the outset of the course are predicted by collaborative outcome expectancy and communal support expectancy, which in turn are precipitated on participants’ perceived ability to work in groups (collaborative process efficacy) and peer influence (communal influence). Additionally, we show that collaborative intentions influence collaborative behavior and its outcomes. In particular we find that group work engagement contributes to three outcomes: a higher course retention of participants, increased production of novel ideas and finally a better learning experience. The models are validated with survey data collected from a MOOC course. Findings from our study unravel individual and communal factors affecting engagement in collaborative processes and show the impact of collaboration on learning and behavior within online learning environments.