| site map | contact |
| home | workshops | courses | libraries | about |
Using Resources
  Prepare the Way
  What is Collaboration?
  Collaboration Tips
  Cooperative Cards
  Why Collaborate?
  Practice Safety
  Communication Tips
  Kinds of Collaboration
  Join a Project
  Design Your Own
  Develop an Idea
  Information Exchange
  Forsee Problems
  Develop Your Own

Collaborative Projects

What Is Collaborative Learning?
previous page next page


Having your students engage in cooperative and collaborative learning within the classroom will lay a foundation for your students in understanding the dynamics of participating in a collaborative project.

1. How does cooperative and collaborative learning impact student achievement?

More than 70 major studies by federally sponsored (US Department of Education, 1992) research centers, field-initiated investigations, and local districts examining their own practices have demonstrated cooperative and collaborative learning's effectiveness on a range of outcomes:

1. Positive Growth in Student Achievement:
When two necessary key elements--group goals and individual accountability--are used together, the effects on achievement are consistently positive.
2. Improved Relations among Different Ethnic Groups:
One of the earliest and strongest findings shows that students who cooperate with each other like each other.
3. Mainstreaming Students with Learning Disabilities:
Significant improvements in relationships occur between these students and other children in their class when these learning strategies are used.

2. What is the difference between cooperative and collaborative learning?

There is a fine-line that separates cooperative and collaborative learning. Here are just a few

Cooperative Learning Collaborative Learning
Cooperative learning is a successful teaching strategy in which small teams, each with students of different levels of ability, use a variety of learning activities to improve their understanding of a subject. Each member of a team is responsible not only for learning what is taught but also for helping teammates learn, thus creating an atmosphere of achievement. (U.S. Dept. of Ed. Office of Research, 1992)
"Collaborative learning is based on the idea that learning is a naturally social act in which the participants talk among themselves (Gerlach, 1994). It is through the talk that learning occurs."
each person is responsible for a portion of the work participants work together to solve a problem
many times the teacher already knows the problem and solution students will be working towards many times teacher does not have a pre-set notion of the problem or solution that students will be researching

Resource Links:

U.S. Dept of Ed: Cooperative Learning

U of Tennessee: Cooperative Learning


Resource Links:

Collaborative Learning: small group learning page


Using the links above:

Explore the above links for further tips and activity ideas.

Using the link above:

Explore the above links for further tips and activity ideas.

3. Clearly Establish Cooperative Learning Guidelines

Introducing and posting visible signs that define cooperative learning guidelines for your class will help your students remember what they should be practicing when they are working in cooperative or collaborative groups.

If you see that students are not keeping on task or including everyone, rather than telling groups what they are doing wrong, challenge your students to identify which rules they are not following. This will challenge your class to identify your rules for group participation, analyze which ones they are not implementing, and challenge them to share and problem-solve how they should adjust their activity to meet these rules.

Here is a suggested list of group participation rules used by a fifth grade teacher. She used the acronymn KISSES and displayed each rule on a separate poster board:

Visit Amy Norton's 5th Grade Classroom
Amy Norton, Rome City Elementary

Group Participation Rules

Keep with the Group

Include Everyone

Share ideas and Feelings

Stay on Task

Encourage Others

Six Inch Voices

4. Create a JigSaw Classroom

JigSaw Classroom
visit JigSaw Classroom

This is a cooperative learning technique that reduces racial conflict among school children, promotes better learning, improves student motivation, and increases enjoyment of the learning experience. The jigsaw technique was first developed in the early 1970s by Elliot Aronson and his students at the University of Texas and the University of California. Since then, hundreds of schools have used the jigsaw classroom with great success. The web site was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, and it contains free resources, tips, links, and information on cooperative learning.


Cooperative Learning. U.S. Dept. of Ed. Office of Research. 1992.
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/OR/ConsumerGuides/cooplear.html (05 December 2003).
Collaborative Learning: Small Group Learning Page.
Wisconsin Center for Education Research (05 December 2003).
Gerlach, J. M. (1994). "Is this collaboration?"
In Bosworth, K. and Hamilton, S. J. (Eds.), Collaborative Learning: Underlying Processes and Effective Techniques, New Directions for Teaching and Learning No. 59.
Panitz, Ted. A Definition of Collaborative vs Cooperative Learning. 1996.
http://www.lgu.ac.uk/deliberations/collab.learning/panitz2.html (05 December 2003).


previous page next page