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What is and Why use Cooperative Learning

A. What is Cooperative Learning?

  1. Formal Cooperative Groups - groups that last from one class period to several weeks.
  2. Informal Cooperative Groups - groups are ad-hoc groups that lost from a few minutes to one class period.
  3. Base Groups - long-term groups (lasting for the entire semester) that are heterogeneous with stable membership whose primary purpose is for members to give each other support, help, encouragement, and assistance with long-term, committed relationships.

B. Why should teachers utilize cooperative learning?

  1. Research indicates that cooperative learning results in a significantly higher achievement and retention than do competitive and individualistic learning.
  2. Research indicates that cooperative learning promotes a greater use of higher-  level reasoning strategies and crucial thinking than do competitive or individualist  efforts.
  3. In cooperative groups, members more frequently generate new ideas, strategies, and solutions that they would think of on their own.
  4. Research indicates that cooperative learning aids in the transfer of learning among subjects and disciplines.
  5. Cooperative learning results in more positive attitudes toward the subject area and greater continuing motivation to learn more about it. This positive attitude extends to the overall instructional experience.


A. Definition: IA is to ensure that each individual student has acquired or mastered the group goal. In this chain, there will be no weak link or Each must pull his own weight.


B. Ways to structure IA"

  • Assess the performance of each individual member (quiz, test, etc).
  • Give the results back to the individual and the group to compare to a preset standard of performance.
  • Give random individual oral examinations.
  • Observe each group and group member.
  • Assign one student in each group the role of checker of understanding.
  • Have students teach what they learned to someone else.
  • Have group members edit each other's work.
  • Have students use what they have learned to solve a different problem.