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Collaborative and cooperative learning

7 February 2012

To proofread a colleague’s list of activities that teachers can run within large lecture groups, I need to know the difference between collaborative learning and cooperative learning.

The term ‘cooperative learning’ might be owned by Spencer Kagan (who wrote a book about it in 1994, and has a rather fabulous Barbie-coloured website now, with lots of juicy resources – I’d like to see the IWB software to support Kagan Structures). A brief overview of the concept points out the mutual benefit theme and lists some of the activities that re-structure the class from a large, passive lump to small, active structures – pairs, fours, etc.

Students working in the 'Learning Lab'

A collaborative learning space, the 'Learning Lab' at Melbourne Uni's School of Chemistry

Melb. uni has a flyer on collaborative learning but I get the feeling that the term has a special connotation for virtual world educators (my colleague is certainly committed to this intriguing area). I’m not sure that technically the term means anything more than group work, but I will keep alert for more.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. pennyjw permalink*
    7 February 2012 4:30 am

    More on the photo: The design of this lab was inspired by MIT’s Technology Enabled Active Learning, see Spectrum article: http://spectrum.mit.edu/articles/normal/teal-teaching/

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