Cooperative or collaborative learning is a team process
where members support and rely on each other to achieve an agreed-upon goal. The classroom is an excellent place to develop team-building skills you will need later in life.
Cooperative/collaborative learning is interactive;
as a team member, you:
develop and share a common goal
contribute your understanding of the problem:
questions; insights and solutions
respond to, and work to understand, others' questions, insights and solutions.
Each member empowers the other to speak and contribute,
and to consider their contributions
are accountable to others, and they are accountable to you
are dependent on others, and they depend on you
What makes for a good learning team?
Team activities begin with training in, and understanding group processes.
An instructor begins by facilitating discussion and suggesting alternatives
but does not impose solutions on the team, especially those having difficulty working together
Diverse skill levels, backgrounds, experience
Each individual brings strengths to a group
Each member of the group is responsible to not only contribute his/her strengths, but also to help others understand the source of their strengths
Any member who is at a disadvantage or not comfortable with the majority should be encouraged and proactively empowered to contribute
Learning is positively influenced with a diversity of perspective and experience
increasing options for problem solving
expanding the range of details to consider
Shared operating principles and responsibilities, defined and agreed to by each member. These include:
Commitment to attend, prepare and be on time for meetings
Have discussions and disagreements focus on issues, avoiding personal criticism
Take responsibility for a share of the tasks and carry them out on time
You may need to perform tasks that you have little experience, feel ill-prepared for, or even think others would do better. Accept the challenge, but be comfortable in stating that you may need help, training, a mentor, or have to resign and take on different task.