What is Cooperative Learning?

Cooperative learning is an instructional strategy that simultaneously addresses academic and social skill learning by students. It is a well-researched instructional strategy and has been reported to be highly successful in the classroom. For a more in depth explanation of this strategy, follow this link to the self-guided tutorial.

What is its purpose?

There is an every increasing need for interdependence in all levels of our society. Providing students with the tools to effectively work in a collaborative environment should be a priority. Cooperative Learning is one way of providing students with a well defined framework from which to learn from each other. Students work towards fulfilling academic and social skill goals that are clearly stated. It is a team approach where the success of the group depends upon everyone pulling his or her weight.

How can I do it?

Five Basic Elements of Cooperative Learning
1. Positive Interdependence
2. Face-To-Face Interaction
3. Individual Accountability
4. Social Skills
5. Group Processing

The basic elements of cooperative learning can be considered essential to all interactive methods. Student groups are small, usually consisting of two to six members. Grouping is heterogeneous with respect to student characteristics. Group members share the various roles and are interdependent in achieving the group learning goal. While the academic task is of primary importance, students also learn the importance of maintaining group health and harmony, and respecting individual views.

How can I adapt it?

Cooperative learning can take place in a variety of circumstances. For example, brainstorming and tutorial groups, when employed as instructional strategies, provide opportunities to develop cooperative learning skills and attitudes.

Assessment and Evaluation Considerations

Observing cooperative learning groups in action allows you to effectively assess students' work and understanding. Cooperative learning groups also offer a unique opportunity for feedback from peers and for self-reflection.

Teacher Resources


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