Any former student who had been ever assigned a group project knows the problem in group work: more often than not, the bulk of the responsibilities falls on one or two students as the others quietly tag along. Cooperative learning is a highly structured educational model where each member isn\’t just responsible for learning a person concept, but in addition for educating other group members about this. While the theory has truly gained traction recently, cooperative learning was initially developed in the first 90s – it began being an approach intended to be equally applicable in traditional classrooms as well as in business settings.
It\’s in line with the premise that all group members succeed or fail together. A widely used iteration of the model is known as jigsaw activity. Each member is required to take ownership of the idea, or puzzle piece, and gain an understanding of it. Then other group members share their knowledge of other puzzle pieces to fellow group members. When each puzzle piece is thought and assembled, the group successfully grasps a brand new concept.
There are three types of cooperative learning groups: formal, informal, and cooperative. Formal groups are extremely common in classrooms today; educators structure out a specific study method and then designate a strict listing of activities, built around a clearly defined subject, which is finished over a short period of time. Informal learning is somewhat off-the-cuff and is often accustomed to break up lectures with group exercises. Cooperative-based groups are designed to exist over a longer period of time; group members support each other by meeting regularly and holding one another accountable for their contributions.
The Five Fundamental Concepts of Cooperative Learning
All cooperative learning is distinguished through the presence of five key elements: positive interdependence, face-to-face interaction, accountability, interpersonal skills and group processing. True cooperative learning study design incorporates all five of those concepts for each member to successfully learn. Student motivation is vital to the entire process; as group members undertake an assignment, momentum ought to be generated by each member\’s desire to share information so the entire group succeeds.
Positive Interdependence.Students must realize that they essentially sink or swim together. Each member of the group must participate fully, or the entire group will fail. Each participant is assigned a distinct role without which other group members will not complete the assignment. Groups might be assigned to create a solid understanding of a complex idea, to develop a product that has multiple interdependent components or perform peer overview of scholarly literature to reach a consensual opinion.The idea here is to use the division at work to accomplish a mutual goal. Carefully structured design creates an environment that is far superior to seating several students in a group and just instructing these to discuss a concept. The project outcome, whether it be a grade, a paper or a product, is judged equally among all participants, so all group members have a stake in the success from the project.
Educators can create this interdependence in a number of ways. The group may have a common goal or incentive; the group’s progress might be dependent on each participant’s contribution; groups might compete against other groups; or group work can be bound to a designated physical space. Written lab work, research projects, case study review and interactive role play can all actually foster this interdependence.
Face-to-Face Interaction:Sometimes referred to as promotive interaction, this component of cooperative learning relies on group dynamics to switch ideas and collaborate effectively. Instructors strive to create as much oral discussion as you possibly can; this is accomplished via classroom message boards like Blackboard or pre-scheduled online chats. These interactions underscore the concept that participants are determined by one another for achievement, which ultimately ends up building up the group\’s trust.
Cognitive learning is reinforced when students share data and resources, problem-solve, and support one another’s group roles. Educators should think about this an opportunity to challenge traditional societal roles; group facilitators may also use these interactions to see individual skills or competencies in group members and ensure that each member’s talents are put to the best use. Incorporating spontaneous face-to-face encounters often helps group members become familiar with one another inside a non-threatening environment, which could strengthen a group’s personal commitment to success.
Accountability: Individual and group accountability is precisely what makes cooperative learning different from the days when lazy participants might get away with little to no contributions. Educators design projectsso that accountability is made into the process at both expected and random times. Formative assessment occurs while the project is ongoing and serves to supply feedback to group facilitators and students. Summative assessment happens at the completing the activity, and evaluates individual participation instead of evaluating the entire group.
Educators, members of a particular group and the other participating groups can all provide accountability feedback. Teachers may assign roles like secretary or recorder; these people must be capable of giving a current report on the group status all the time, thus requiring good communication among participants. Teachers may also request unscheduled oral reports or administer pop quizzes to test the group’s participation; group participants also benefit from this as its a chance for them ro refine their extemporaneous speaking and ability as a copywriter.
Students may assess one another’s participation during after the project is finished. Anonymous ratings sheets can be used for this purpose. Other groups may measure the group’s accountability by evaluating the end product or quizzing various group members during project presentations. Students are usually necesary to teach other students or groups that which was produced or learned during a project.
Interpersonal and Small Group Skills. The social skills that are required for effective group collaboration are learned skills that students often need to be taught. As group participants learn how to function as part of a team while they accomplished a defined task, this cooperative learning increases cognitive development. Social nuances for example leadership, trust, confidence, good communication and conflict management techniques are all necessary to function inside a group; educators anticipate this in project design and focus on this aspect of learning just as much as the task available. Over time, students should be able to appreciate other group member’s strengths and weaknesses, and then learn how to articulate answers and questions about projects.
Group Processing. This fifth component of cooperative learning is absolutely essential, although it is the step most likely to be rushed after a project or class. During group processing, participants reflect individually and collectively on which worked and what didn\’t. Helpful and unhelpful behaviors are identified; ideally, decisions are made about the the next time the group in concert with. This important phase adds much to students’ idea of the material.
In a best case scenario, all students give and receive positive feedback on individual contributions; this positivity will drive momentum in future group work. Students think about that feedback and then set goals for improvement. For instance, a participant may choose a social skill that she or he would like to improve, or a group can decide to ask more questions of 1 another in the future. Finally, participants should have a celebration of some kind that marks the end of the project; this will also motivate positive cooperative learning experiences later on.
Advantages to Cooperative Learning Models
Cooperative learning is of enormous help to schoolchildren. Academically, group participants gain a better comprehension of the course material when all five elements of cooperative learning are instituted. Students use participants who have different learning styles; teaching a peer not just reinforces cognitive comprehension, but will probably be better understood by the other student. When employed in groups, lower-performing students will work harder to maintain high-performing peers. Since group grading provides more students with an opportunity to “win” in the somewhat competitive school atmosphere, there is additional incentive to attain.
Socially, learning in a group model exposes children to different learning styles, cultural or ethnic backgrounds and ranging levels of enthusiasm. Cooperative learning allows educators to reinforce concepts of equality in the classroom, using a group environment to discount stereotypes. Sharing is implicit within this teaching model, enforcing the concept that knowledge is perfect for everyone. Children who receive recognition to take risks be comfortable in doing so. Students also enjoy classes that need participation greater than a traditional lecture class; actually, they are more prone to attend and finish these courses.
Perhaps most importantly, cooperative learning teaches necessary life skills. Being employed as a group to achieve a common goal demonstrates the value of teamwork, for instance. Some group participants will emerge as natural leaders, allowing them an early opportunity to develop effective leadership habits. The opportunity to communicate ideas well, obviously a cornerstone life skill, is necessary for successful cooperative learning. Conflict can unfortunately participate any collaboration effort, and conflict management skills cannot be taught too soon. Learning to decide within a group also prepares students for a productive career.
What\’s in Store for Cooperative Learning?
This learning model also has economic ramifications. Because participants work in groups and share materials, fewer supplies must be purchased. This really is good news for budget-strapped school systems in the U.S. Because the planet’s conventional resources are depleted, less consumption means less waste and less damage to the earth. The societal shift to digital resources meshes well with cooperative learning styles.
On a bigger scale, cooperative learning techniques C like conflict resolution and effective communication C better prepare participants for any global society. Corporations today, ever more global in scope, are leaning on interdisciplinary teams that contain different cultural influences and specialized skill sets.
The original cooperative learning model, which looked much like informal study groups inside a dorm lounge, will end up a more structured a part of classroom curricula. Continued advances in technology will only augment this learning model, since learning blended with technology is already most of many schools\’ curricula. Cooperative learning designs include been proven to enforce cognitive learning better than class lectures; it\’s reasonable to anticipate that advances in technology continues to drive a far more collaborative classroom that shares knowledge across a broader scope.