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What are cooperative and collaborative learning?
How do cooperative and collaborative learning differ from the traditional
How have cooperative and collaborative learning developed since they became popular?
What are the benefits of cooperative and collaborative learning?
What are some critical perspectives?
How can I use cooperative and collaborative learning in conjunction with other
educational techniques?

What are the benefits of cooperative and collaborative learning?

Benefits from small-group learning in a collaborative environment include:

Celebration of diversity. Students learn to work with all types of people. During small-group interactions, they find many opportunities to reflect upon and reply to the diverse responses fellow learners bring to the questions raised. Small groups also allow students to add their perspectives to an issue based on their cultural differences. This exchange inevitably helps students to better understand other cultures and points of view.

Acknowledgment of individual differences. When questions are raised, different students will have a variety of responses. Each of these can help the group create a product that reflects a wide range of perspectives and is thus more complete and comprehensive.

Interpersonal development. Students learn to relate to their peers and other learners as they work together in group enterprises. This can be especially helpful for students who have difficulty with social skills. They can benefit from structured interactions with others.

Actively involving students in learning. Each member has opportunities to contribute in small groups. Students are apt to take more ownership of their material and to think critically about related issues when they work as a team.

More opportunities for personal feedback. Because there are more exchanges among students in small groups, your students receive more personal feedback about their ideas and responses. This feedback is often not possible in large-group instruction, in which one or two students exchange ideas and the rest of the class listens.

Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2

In Part 1 of this video clip, Kathryn Mitchell Pierce, who teaches grades one through three in Clayton, Missouri, talks about adjusting the make-up of cooperative groups. In Part 2, she discusses how even shy students can blossom when assigned to the right kind of group.
Beneficial, cooperative-learning situations are not easy to set up. In many situations, particularly those in which people must work together on a problem, conflicts prevent learning. As a result, cooperative learning requires teaching kids to work well with others by resolving these inevitable conflicts. In the next section, we will present specific techniques for dealing with group conflicts.


Workshop: Cooperative and Collaborative Learning
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