From Diversifying Economic Quality: A Wiki for Instructors and Departments
Cooperative learning is an educational approach that promotes students working in small groups in order to collectively learn.
Examples of Cooperative Learning
Steven Yamarik, a associate professor of economics at California State University at Long Beach, conducted a trial study demonstrating that cooperative learning exercises resulted in students achieving higher test scores. In order to incorporate cooperative learning in his intermediate macroeconomics course Yamarick first established groups of three to four students which he called "base groups." These students remained in the same "base group" for the entire course. Then, Yamarick had students work with one another both inside as well as outside of the classroom. Finally, rather than use a teaching assistant, Yamarick personally facilitated the group cooperative learning exercises and assessed the results. The academic work which the students were assigned included handouts as well as additional readings. In class groups typically reviewed the questions in class, came to a group consensus concerning answers, and then each group was randomly provided a question to present to the class.
How to Incorporate Cooperative Learning
According to Brown and Ciuffetelli Parker, there are 5 essential elements to cooperative learning.
1. Positive Interdependence
2. Face-to-Face Promotive Interaction
3. Individual Accountability
4. Social Skills
5. Group Processing