Collaborative and Cooperative Learning


Encouraging Cooperative Learning
During cooperative learning situations, students work through an assignment as a team. Every member is in charge for their own learning as well as the work of their teammates. Consequently, students learn from each other’s effort and share in the success and/or failure of the group. Such experience has been shown to promote a sense of community in online learning environments.
This group work kind has been shown to promote learning, student retention, and enhance student satisfaction. In learning environments online, the sense of social presence is increased making some student more comfortable about distance learning.

Cooperative education involves:


• Interpersonal Skills: all members must apply social skills including communicating, trusting, resolving conflicts, leading, and decision-making.
• Interaction: all members share information, check for understanding, and connect ideas for the good of the group.
• Interdependence: each member work is critical for the success of the team. Everyone makes a unique contribution. Nevertheless, the group works together to process information, take action, and make decisions.
• Individual & Group Accountability: individual as well as team assessments are used to ensure that all students are learning.

Designing Team Activities
Even if there are many ways to structure cooperative learning activities, three popular approaches are listed below.
Brainstorming: while there are many ways to use brainstorming, a round robin works well in an online, cooperative learning situation.
• In a small group discussion forum, an open ending problem or question is presented.
• Each group member posts one response or idea.
• After everyone has responded, each person posts a second idea, then third, and fourth until everyone runs out of ideas.
Jigsaw: this approach involves learners becoming experts in a topic and sharing their expertise with others. This approach can be used to chapters or a book, novels, math problems, software packages learned, websites evaluated, etc.
• Groups are formed to learn about a general topic such as biomes.
• Each group member is charged with becoming an expert in one area such as freshwater, marine, desert, forest, grassland, or tundra.
• Expert groups meet to share what they’ve learned, discuss presentation options, and help each other create materials. During online environments, students may use tools to create collaborative documents and presentations.
• Students return to their original group to share what they’ve learned.
• Individual assessments are given to ensure that all students understand all concepts.

• Think: Individuals think about a question or problem posed by the instructor.
• Pair: Two people share their thoughts and exchange ideas. It may work well through email or in a chat room.
• Share: The pairs share their ideas with a small group or the entire class