Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning was proposed in response to traditional curriculum-driven education. In cooperative learning environments, students interact in purposively structured heterogenous group to support the learning of one self and others in the same group.

In Online Education, cooperative learning focuses on opportunities to encourage both individual flexibility and affinity to a learning community (Paulsen 2003). Cooperative learning seeks to foster some benefits from the freedom of individual learning and other benefits from collaborative learning. Cooperative learning thrives in virtual learning environments that emphasize individual freedom within online learning communities.

Cooperative learning explicitly builds cooperation skills by assinging roles to team members and establishing norms for conflict resolution via arbitration. Cooperative learning should also provide the means for group reflection and individual self-assessment.

"Cooperative learning (CL) is an instructional paradigm in which teams of students work on structured tasks (e.g., homework assignments, laboratory experiments, or design projects) under conditions that meet five criteria: positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-toface interaction, appropriate use of collaborative skills, and regular self-assessment of team functioning. Many studies have shown that when correctly implemented, cooperative learning improves information acquisition and retention, higher-level thinking skills, interpersonal and communication skills, and self-confidence (Johnson, Johnson, and Smith, 1998)."
--Deborah B. Kaufman, Richard M. Felder, Department of Chemical Engineering, North Carolina State University
--Hugh Fuller, College of Engineering, North Carolina State University

Cooperative Learning and Technology:

A natural outgrowth of cooperative learning is its pairing with technology that affords learners the chance to bridge distance and time.

David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson's article 'Cooperation and Technolgy' go into detail about cooperative learning (its relationship with collaborative learning) and technology's potential to play a role in facilitating learning that takes place in group environments. What follows is a summary of that article.

Read more about the Cooperative Learning.