Name Date Course Section/# Cooperative Learning: A Review of the Process and Current Scholarly Reviews on the Topic as it Relates to the Classroom and the Individual Cooperative learning may be defined as an approach to the organization of learning that relies on the ability to “structure positive dependence” on the individuals within the group…
Conversely, in cooperative learning, the students form groups that work to provide a collective that seeks to complete tasks and foster the learning experience. In this way, the stigma of asking one another for assistance and guidance is no longer seen as a type of weakness or unethical behavior, it is viewed as a net positive and allows members of the group to take roles toward expounding the information to their pears; thereby reinforcing the information and ensuring that all the group can understand and appreciate the information they have discovered prior to moving on (Sharan, 1992). It should be noted early on that cooperative learning is often wrongly confused with “group work/learning” due to the fact that both learning styles depend on the use of the group to effect the learning environment. However, the fundamental difference lies in the fact that “group work/learning” relies on the group to determine the speed and structure that the individual task will be undertaken (Johnson, 1991). As such the process of cooperative learning works to split the difference between a situation in which the group determines the speed and learning tasks and a situation in which the instructor/teacher relates the information and the students individually are responsible for the content. As such, cooperative learning depends on the instructor/teacher to set the guidelines and learning objectives for the groups and then rely on the groups to differentiate the material amongst each other in an attempt to formerly involve the process of collaboration and cooperation in the learning environment (Joliffe, 2007). One of the greatest perceived benefits of cooperative learning is that it relocates the emphasis away from the individual and into the group. Regardless of the way that one might feel with relation to the way in which the learning process/classroom should be structured, it is inarguable that the real world environment with which students will be faced upon successful completion of their education is one in which group understanding, cooperation, and the ability to understand and work well under situations are integral roles towards success (Lyman, 1993). As such, this understanding has led many to question if this is the case why our educational system for so long championed the individualized theory of education and learning if the fact of the matter is that group organizational skills are so heavily emphasized with relation to success and employment in our current society. In order for cooperative learning to take place, there are 5 essential elements that must be put into action (Walter, 2004). These will be briefly disused in the following paragraphs so as to give a thorough understanding to the reader of the practice and how it must be engaged in order to maximize its efficiency. The first of these five key factors relates to the concept of positive interdependence. This concept relates to the notion that students must first realize that it is beneficial to them to collectively work to tackle an issue/problem set rather than work to solve the problem relying entirely on themselves. This concept, once realized, forms the cornerstone of cooperative learning as the “buy in” of key shareholders is assured in this first acceptance of the belief and understanding that working together the prospect of solution creation ...
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