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What can it look like? Informal cooperative learning groups In informal cooperative learning, small, temporary, ad-hoc groups of two to four students work together for brief periods in a class, typically up to one class period, to answer questions or respond to prompts posed by the instructor.
Source work academic writing from sources 2006 suzuki video shows an example of informal cooperative learning in a large class taught by Tessa Andrews at the University of Georgia: Additional examples of ways to structure informal group work are given in the table below.
Formal cooperative learning groups In formal cooperative learning students work together for one or more class periods to complete a joint task or assignment Johnson et al. There are several features that can help these groups work well: The instructor defines the learning objectives for the activity and assigns students to groups.
The groups are typically heterogeneous, with particular attention to the skills that are needed for success in the task. Within the groups, students may be assigned specific roles, with the instructor communicating the criteria for success and the types of social skills that will be needed.
Instructors also encourage groups to reflect on their interactions to identify potential improvements for future group work. There are many more specific types of group work that fall under the general descriptions given here, including team-based learningproblem-based learningand process-oriented guided inquiry learning.
The use of cooperative learning groups in instruction is based on the principle of constructivism, with particular attention to the contribution that social interaction can make. In essence, constructivism rests on the idea that individuals learn through building their own knowledge, connecting new ideas and experiences to existing knowledge and experiences to form new or enhanced understanding Bransford, et al.
Lev Vygotsky extended this work by examining the relationship between cognitive processes and social activities, developing the sociocultural theory of development. The sociocultural theory of development suggests that learning takes place when students solve problems beyond their current developmental level with the support of their instructor or their peers.
Thus both the idea of a zone of proximal development, supported by positive group interdependence, is the basis of cooperative learning Davidson and Major, ; Johnson, et al.
Cooperative learning follows this idea as groups work together to learn or solve a problem, with each individual responsible for understanding all aspects. The small groups are essential to this process because students are able to both be heard and to hear their peers, while in a traditional classroom setting students may spend more time listening to what the instructor says.
Cooperative learning uses both goal interdependence and resource interdependence to ensure interaction and communication among group members.
Changing the role of the instructor from lecturing to facilitating the groups helps foster this social environment for students to learn through interaction.
Is there evidence that it works? David Johnson, Roger Johnson, and Karl Smith performed a meta-analysis of studies comparing cooperative learning to competitive learning and individualistic learning in college students Johnson et al. They found that cooperative learning produced greater academic achievement than both competitive learning and individualistic learning across the studies, exhibiting a mean weighted effect size of 0.
In essence, these results indicate that cooperative learning increases student academic performance by approximately one-half of a standard deviation when compared to non-cooperative learning models, an effect that is considered moderate.
Importantly, the academic achievement measures were defined in each study, and ranged from lower-level cognitive tasks e.
The meta-analysis also showed substantial effects on other metrics, including self-esteem and positive attitudes about learning.
George Kuh and colleagues also conclude that cooperative group learning promotes student engagement and academic performance Kuh et al. Springer, Stanne, and Donovan confirmed these results in their meta-analysis of 39 studies in university STEM classrooms. They found that students who participated in various types of small-group learning, ranging from extended formal interactions to brief informal interactions, had greater academic achievement, exhibited more favorable attitudes towards learning, and had increased persistence through STEM courses than students who did not participate in STEM small-group learning.
The box below summarizes three individual studies examining the effects of cooperative learning groups. What are approaches that can help make group work effective?
Preparation Articulate your goals for the group work, including both the academic objectives you want the students to achieve and the social skills you want them to develop.
Determine the group conformation that will help meet your goals. In informal group learning, groups often form ad hoc from near neighbors in a class. In formal group learning, it is helpful for the instructor to form groups that are heterogeneous with regard to particular skills or abilities relevant to group tasks.
For example, groups may be heterogeneous with regard to academic skill in the discipline or with regard to other skills related to the group task e.
Groups from are generally recommended, with groups that consist of three members exhibiting the best performance in some problem-solving tasks Johnson et al.Sourcework Academic Writing From attheheels.com Free Download Here Sourcework: Academic Writing from Sources Dollahite, Nancy E.
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Shunryu Suzuki’s chapter is somewhat disjointed but the editors have pointed out that there is no extant complete record of Suzuki’s lectures on Genjōkōan and what we have here is a compilation of talks over six years, beginning in attheheels.com is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists.
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