Based on a three-semester design-based research study examining learning and teaching in a web-conferencing environment, this article identifies types of synchronous collaboration competencies and reveals their influence on learning processes. Four levels of online collaborative competencies were observed -operational, interactional, managerial, and design. The relative importance of students and teachers possessing the different levels of competencies depended on the degree of interactivity in the learning designs being applied. Both misunderstandings and misuses impacted on learning and collaborative processes, with misuses occurring more persistently throughout semesters than misunderstandings. The distinction between developing students' technical skills and their collaborative capabilities is drawn. Strategies for developing each are recommended.