Cooperative Learning


Effective cooperative learning occurs when students work together to accomplish shared goals and when positive structures are in place to support that process (Johnson & Johnson, 1999).

Cooperative Learning Cooperative_learning.jpg

Research shows that organizing students into cooperative groups yields a positive effect on overall learning.

Criteria for effective cooperative learning groups include:

  • Students understand that their membership in a learning group means that they either succeed or fail—together. (Deutsch, 1962).

  • "Positive interdependence" includes mutual goals, joint rewards, resource interdependence (each group member has different resources that must be combined to complete the assignment), and role interdependence (each group member is assigned a specific role).

  • Students help each other learn and encourage individual team members' success.

  • Individuals in the group understand that they are accountable to each other and to the group as a distinct unit.

  • Interpersonal and small-group skills are in place, including communication, decision making, conflict resolution, and time management.

  • Members are aware of the group's processes. Individual members talk about "the group" as a unique entity.



When applying cooperative learning strategies, keep groups small and don't overuse this strategy. Instructors should be systematic and consistent in your approach.

Applications: .* Vary group sizes and objectives.*

Cooperative learning video

Design group work around the core components of cooperative learning-positive interdependence, group processing, appropriate use of social skills, face-to-face interaction, and individual and group accountability.