Summary of reform: Instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other's learning and toward a group goal. It is based on the social interdependence theory of Kurt Lewin and Morton Deustch (1930-1940s). Several researchers have detailed the conditions under which cooperative, individualized, and competitive structures affect or increase student achievement such as David and Roger Johnson at University of Minnesota, Robert Slavinb at Johns Hopkins University, and Elizabeth Cohen at Stanford.
The development of interpersonal skills is as important as the learning itself; learning to cooperate is key to high quality work, group process skills are developed. Teaches students to work well in group settings. Process directly tied to outcome.
Types of institutions: multiple institution types
Duration: 1960s (and even longer).
Source list of institutions: NSEE
Contact for further information: Jean NSEE, National Society for Experiential Learning; Catherine Ruotolo, Stevens Institute of Technology, 201/728-0200, email@example.com.
Outcomes: Critical thinking, student motivation to learn, interdependence, work well in group environment; important in internationalized or globalized world
Process: Teach group processes
Origination of reform:
Support: government grant - FIPSE, NSF
Linking Characteristic 1: collaboration
Linking Characteristic 2: making environments smaller
Linking Characteristic 3: student centered
Linking Characteristic 4: humanist orientation
Resistances: Faculty resistance to changing from lectures to facilitating group work.
Evolution/History: Long history from the 1930 and 1940s from studies by Kurt Lewin who looked at ways to increased learning by balancing competition and cooperation in classrooms. Popular for a while, there is even a cooperative education journal from the mid part of the century. It lost momentum but has recently been brought back with the interest in collaborative and active learning.
Bredehoft, David J. (1991.) Cooperative Controversies in the Classroom. College Teaching, 39(3), 122-125.
Bruffee, Kenneth A. (1995.) Sharing Our Toys: Collaborative Learning Versus Cooperative Learning. Change, January/February 1995, 12-18.