Cooperative Learning

Tech & Teaching Tuesday

What is Cooperative Learning?

Instruction that is structured around small groups that work together in a way that allows the individual's success to be dependent on the group's success.  There are many cooperative models.  It is more than sitting side by side or just working in groups.

Elements of Cooperative Learning include:

  • Positive Interdependence - Sink or Swim Together
  • Individual Accountability  - Students learn together, but perform alone
  • Face to Face Interaction - Promotive interaction where members are  committed to each other as well as to their mutual goals
  • Interpersonal and Small Group Social Skills - Taskwork and Teamwork
  • Group Processing - Reflection on the Taskwork and Teamwork of the group

What is Cooperative Learning Resource Link

Why should I use Cooperative Learning?

  • Students learn significantly more, remember longer and develop better critical thinking skills
  • Students enjoy cooperative learning more than traditional lecture and are more likely to attend and finish the course.
  • Students develop skills needed to work on projects together which is needed for complex problem solving in school and in future job settings.

Cooperative Learning Resource Link

How Do I use Cooperative Learning?

Cooperative Learning can be incorporated into instruction as a simple warm-up exercise or a very complex, multiple day project.  It is important to find the most fitting cooperative technique for the purpose and content of the lesson.

Cooperative Learning Categories: Informal,  Formal, & Cooperative Based Groups

5 Key Elements for Implementing Cooperative Learning

  • Pre-Instructional Planning - Establish the most appropriate strategy to use, plan out how groups will interact, create the structure.
  • Introduction of the Activity to Students - Explain the Academic Task, explain the structure/roles of the groups, draw attention to the positive interdependence but also individual accountability
  • Monitor and Intervene - Let the learning begin, circulate through the room, give immediate feedback for on task and off task activities, get all students on right track
  • Assessment - Informal assessment happens when you are observing groups, formal assessment of the group will occur once the project is finished by both the teacher and the student
  • Process - Groups rate thier own performance and set goals to improve their work

Cooperative Learning Techniques





Essential 5: Kagan Cooperative Structures

Effectively Mangaging the Cooperative Classroom

Ten Tips from

Ten Tips for Success with Cooperative Learning

1. Never use group grades.
2. Inform and establish buy-in with parents, your principal, PTA, and community members before transforming your classroom.
3. Do not assume social skills from students; carefully structure for their acquistion.
4. Do not allow interaction which exceeds your management methodology.
5. Create the will to work together (via teambuilding and classbuilding) before moving to academic tasks.
6. Begin with highly structured and brief cooperative tasks, move slowly to unstructured and longer projects.
7. When you are ready for academic tasks, begin with tasks which are well within the capacity of even the lowest achiever.
8. Do not allow unstructured interaction until students have acquired both the will and the skills to work together.
9. Don't try to reinvent the wheel: begin with proven, structured student interaction strategies.

10. Take it slow. Make it easy on yourself and your students. Learn one new strategy well before attempting the next new strategy.