Cooperative Learning and the use of Classroom Software
Created by: Evelin Hernandez

What is Cooperative and Collaborative Learning?

Cooperative learning is an approach to instruction in which students work with a small group of peers to achieve a common goal and help one another learn. There are many benefits in cooperative learning such as greater comprehension and integration of subject matter, exposure to new strategies, increased perspective taking, and scaffolding for one another.
Although the two terms are used as interchangeable terms, we will distinguish between them. According to Alessi and Trollip (2001), Cooperative, means that the students are helping one another in an environment that supports students helping and teaching one another. Collaborative learning are environments where the students work on a shared project or goal.

What does the literature have to say about Cooperative and Collaborative Learning?
They are both aspects of constructivist thinking. In these environments, the teacher acts as a facilitator who guides the students in exploring their environment and constructing their own knowledge (Matthew & Felvegi, 2009). The youth of the twenty-first century have grown up amid a rapid evolution in technology. We have moved from technologies such as film projectors, radio, cassette players and instructional television to phones, laptops, and handheld devices, all of which are able to connect to the Internet, and today’s children spend a considerable amount of time using these technologies.There is no question that children today are more familiar with technology and educators are becoming more aware of how technology is a viable instructional tool to increase student engagement, learning and collaboration in the classroom environment. The use of technology can transform a classroom into an interactive learning environment.One form of classroom software that promotes cooperative and collaborative learning are Wikis. A wiki "is a web site, the content of which can be edited by visitors to the site, allowing users to easily create and edit pages collaboratively" (Su & Beaumont, 2010). Essentially, wikis promote collaborative learning environments through open discussions, sharing knowledge and active participation from group members.

Links to Constructivist Learning Theory:

What does Cooperative and Collaborative Learning look like in the classroom?

In the classroom, students in cooperative learning groups think aloud, model various learning and problem-solving strategies for one another and develop greater meta-cognitive awareness. The following are several strategies Ormrod (2008) suggest to enhance the effectiveness of cooperative groups:
  • Form groups based on which students are likely to work effectively with one another.
  • Give group members one or more common goals toward which to work.
  • Provide clear guidelines about how to behave.
  • Structure tasks so that group members are dependent on one another for success.
  • Serve primarily as a monitor and resource.
  • Make students individually accountable for their achievement, but also reinforce them for group success.
  • At the end of an activity, have groups evaluate their effectiveness.

VIDEO: Collaborative Learning with iMovie

Google Docs
GlogsterThese videos are demonstrations on using glogster EDU completed by our colleague David Lee.



Alessi, S. M., Trollip, S. R. (2001). Multimedia for learning: Methods and development. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

Matthew, K. I., & Felvegi, E. (2009). Wiki as a Collaborative Learning Tool in a Language Arts Methods Class. Journal of Research on Technology in Education , 42 (1), 51-72.

Ormrod, J. (2008). Educational Psychology. Boston, Ma: Allyn & Bacon.

Su, F., & Beaumont, C. (2010). Evaluating the use of a wiki for collaborative Learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International , 47 (4), 417-431.