Cooperative Learning Returns To College

James Watson, who won a Nobel Prize as co-discoverer of the double-helix DNA molecule, recognized this when he stated, “Nothing new that is really interesting comes without collaboration.” Despite the remarkable achievements of academic teams, the myth of the genius individual still exists; it underlies educational practice that assumes each student should work separately and apart from classmates. While the authors support wholeheartedly the development of individual talents, isolation is not the best path for nurturing them. As Watson noted, creative genius is the product of, and best develops within, cooperative efforts. The truth of this assertion can be seen in the rich theory, research, and practice surrounding cooperative learning. There can now be little doubt that cooperative learning is appropriate to higher education; it works. While it is never easy to implement, when all the critical elements are in place, it is very powerful. In this article, we review the theory underlying the use of cooperative learning, the research on it conducted at the college level, and the ways it may be used appropriately in college classes.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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