Highest risk processes may include such carefully structured small group based strategies as some of these more familiar ones:
- collaborative learning
- cooperative learning
- team learning
- problem-based learning
As you can see, there are many names for strategies that apply what we know from the research. Summaries of classroom research have revealed a number of best practices that encourage active student participation in the learning process. For example, collaborative learning encompasses a variety of approaches to education, that may also be referred to as cooperative learning or small group learning. What is more important than the names are that these strategies create an environment that engage students who might not otherwise be engaged in their own learning in meaningful ways. Collaborative learning, then, is one among a wide variety of teaching strategies that each contribute to the total picture of making learning a deeper, more engaging, meaningful, active and effective process.
Sites Pertinent to Cooperative Learning — Compiled by Dr. Barbara J. Millis, Director of Faculty Development, University of Texas, San Antonio
Dr. Don Paulson, a chemist at California State at Los Angeles, has written a number of articles related to using active learning techniques in science, engineering, mathematics, and technology courses. His web site contains a number of rapid techniques useful in a variety of classes.
Maintained by David T. Johnson and Roger W. Johnson, long-time cooperative learning researchers and practitioners, the web site for the Cooperative Learning Center at the University of Minnesota contains valuable background information on cooperative learning including three newsletters and some key articles such as “Cooperative Learning Methods: A Meta-Analysis,” which focuses on what can be proved to work.
Richard Felder’s wonderful web site contains a wealth of articles, advice, and research to promote better teaching, particularly in the sciences.
Cooperative Learning Methods: A Meta-Analysis — Authored by David W. Johnson, Roger T. Johnson, and Mary Beth Stanne, University of Minnesota, 60 Peik Hall, 159 Pillsbury Drive, S.E., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455
Cooperative learning is one of the most widespread and fruitful areas of theory, research, and practice in education. Reviews of the research, however, have focused either on the entire literature which includes research conducted in noneducational settings or have included only a partial set of studies that may or may not validly represent the whole literature. There has never been a comprehensive review of the research on the effectiveness in increasing achievement of the methods of cooperative learning used in schools. An extensive search found 164 studies investigating eight cooperative learning methods. The studies yielded 194 independent effect sizes representing academic achievement. All eight cooperative learning methods had a significant positive impact on student achievement.