Cooperative Learning is not just a function by where students must work together to meet a goal, its true intent is that the collaboration will foster deeper learning (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn,, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 139). The focus becomes cooperating in an effort to excel (Pitler et al., 2007, p. 143), by where students can work cohesively on something that otherwise could not be accomplished as efficiently independently (Orey, 2001). If done correctly, it forces the student to better think through what they are learning (Orey, 2001).
Through group work, formulated using a variety of grouping methods, cooperative learning builds on the social component along with knowledge. Items such as positive interdependence, promotive interaction, group processing and individual accountability are strengthened through this technique (Pitler et al., 2007, p. 140). Motivation will also be fostered from the accountability, which can in turn increase self-efficacy (Orey, 2001).
As is the case in many arenas, new technology provides for exciting new pathways for knowledge to expand and venture off to. Incorporating multimedia naturally aids cooperative learning (Pitler et al., 2007, p. 141). It gives students the ability to consult and review professionals (p. 144), use tools such as a WebQuest to dive deeper into an issue without taking as much time to research (p. 145), or building a website together (p. 147).
As long as clear expectations, rolls and responsibilities are established, the teachers roll in cooperative learning is needed only as a monitor, assistant or as reinforcement (Orey, 2001). There are some potential issues that we must be on the lookout for such poor attendance, vast differences in learning ability and students not taking accountability in their task. (Orey, 2001). These potential roadblocks could severely hamper a group’s effort, especially on an activity that spreads across multiple class periods. Personally, when in a team games unit, attendance can definitely effect the flow of the class.
Aside from possible pitfalls cooperative learning is extremely beneficial when working near full power (Orey, 2001).
Orey, M. (Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page
Pitler H., Hubbell, E., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works.
: ASCD. Alexandria, VA