If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. Henry Ford
Both cooperative and collaborative learning are based on the idea that it is through talk that learning occurs. When groups of learners work together to solve a problem, complete a task, create a product, or discuss a single problem with a partner, they are involved in cooperative learning.
Although collaborative and cooperative learning are often used synonymously, cooperative learning is actually a specific kind of collaboration in which students work together in small groups on a structured activity. That structure ensures that each person’s task is essential to the success of the group.
Cooperative Learning (CL) is more than just a method in which students help each other learn the same thing, or one in which some students do the lion’s share of the work. Through cooperative learning tasks teachers can personalize student learning while challenging each individual to work toward the success of the group.
There is a wealth of research to support the use of collaborative methods to develop learners who are critical thinkers. Students need to take part in engaging, meaningful projects and activities that require collaboration.
The following video shows the power of collaborative learning as Cycle 3 students work together to explore how biographies work.
An excerpt from Teaching for Meaningful Learning: A Review of Research on Inquiry-Based and Cooperative Learning by Brigid Barron and Linda Darling-Hammond can be downloaded here.
Find out more about the basic elements of cooperative learning from Johnson and Johnson.
Check out some concrete classroom examples of students using the Jigsaw Cooperative Learning Technique, to explore a variety of texts.