Cooperative Learning Elements

Brown & Ciuffetelli Parker (2009) discuss the 5 basic and essential elements to cooperative learning:

1. Positive interdependence

    Students must fully participate and put forth effort within their group

    Each group member has a task/role/responsibility therefore must believe that they are responsible for their learning and that of their group

2. Face-to-Face Promotive Interaction

    Member promote each others success

    Students explain to one another what they have or are learning and assist one another with understanding and completion of assignments

3. Individual Accountability

    Each student must demonstrate master of the content being studied

    Each student is accountable for their learning and work, therefore eliminating “social loafing”

4. Social Skills

    Social skills that must be taught in order for successful cooperative learning to occur

    Skills include effective communication, interpersonal and group skills

    i. Leadership

    ii. Decision-making

    iii. Trust-building

    iv. Communication

    v. Conflict-management skills

5. Group Processing

    Every so often groups must assess their effectiveness and decide how it can be improved

In order for student achievement to improve considerably, two characteristics must be present a) Students are working towards a group goal or recognition and b) success is reliant on each individual’s learning

    a. When designing cooperative learning tasks and reward structures, individual responsibility and accountability must be identified. Individuals must know exactly what their responsibilities are and that they are accountable to the group in order to reach their goal.

    b. Positive Interdependence among students in the task. All group members must be involved in order for the group to complete the task. In order for this to occur each member must have a task that they are responsible for which cannot be completed by any other group member.