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Cooperative Learning: Improving university instruction by basing practice on validated theory

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Cooperative learning is an example of how theory validated by research may be applied to instructional practice. The major theoretical base for cooperative learning is social interdependence theory. It provides clear definitions of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning. Hundreds of research studies have validated its basic propositions and demonstrated that cooperative learning (compared with competitive and individualistic learning) increases students' efforts to achieve, encourages positive relationships with classmates and faculty, and improves psychological health and well being. Operational procedures have been derived from the validated theory to implement cooperative learning in university classes, including those needed to implement formal cooperative learning, informal cooperative learning, and cooperative base groups.
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Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. A. (2014). Co-
operative learning: Improving university instruction by
basing practice on validated theory. Journal on Excellence
in College Teaching, 25(3&4), 85-118.
85
Cooperative Learning:
Improving University Instruction
by Basing Practice on Validated Theory
David W. Johnson
Roger T. Johnson
Karl A. Smith
University of Minnesota
Cooperative learning is an example of how theory validated by
research may be applied to instructional practice. The major
theoretical base for cooperative learning is social interdependence
theory. It provides clear denitions of cooperative, competitive,
and individualistic learning. Hundreds of research studies have
validated its basic propositions and demonstrated that cooper-
ative learning (compared with competitive and individualistic
learning) increases students’ efforts to achieve, encourages
positive relationships with classmates and faculty, and improves
psychological health and well being. Operational procedures
have been derived from the validated theory to implement co-
operative learning in university classes, including those needed
to implement formal cooperative learning, informal cooperative
learning, and cooperative base groups.
Introduction
Imagine that time travel is possible and we could transport individ-
uals from the Middle Ages to present day life (Spence, 2001). A Middle
Ages farmer placed in a modern farm would recognize nothing but the
livestock. A physician from the 13
th
century would probably faint from
shock in a modern operating room. Galileo would be mystied by a tour
of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Columbus would shake with fright
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching86
in a nuclear submarine. But a 15
th
-century university professor would
feel right at home in many of today’s classrooms. While the agriculture,
medicine, science, transportation, manufacturing, and communication
industries have all been transformed and improved, teaching relatively
has not. The same age-old assumptions that teaching is telling, learning
is absorbing what the instructor tells, and knowledge is subject matter
content continue to the present day.
It is not that these assumptions have never been challenged. Educa-
tional history is a record of a steady cycle of failed reforms that were
demonstrated to improve learning, but after a few years were abandoned.
While there are many reasons why teaching is so resistant to change,
Ewell (2001) believes one reason is that instructors fail to apply the same
scientic rigor (that is, the need for underlying theory and conrmatory
evidence) to their teaching as they do to their research. He believes that
university instructors rely more on folklore and knee-jerk mythology
than on scientic fact, arguing that everyone knows how a class should
be conducted or how material should be presented to students. On the
contrary, university faculty should base their teaching practices directly
on theory and research.
Many educators, however, believe that well over 100 years of theorizing
and research has not provided the guidance needed to teach effectively
and efciently (Blumenfeld & Anderson, 1996). Recommendations to
university instructors on how to teach seem based more on stories and
promising ideas than on conclusions drawn from rigorous research. Given
the importance of improving university teaching, educators should re-
spond to issues of practice with theory and rigorous data. To do so, they
need to ask the following questions:
1. Is the instructional practice derived from a clearly for-
mulated theory?
2. Does the theory behind the instruction specify the
conditions necessary to structure cooperation into
existing situations (in other words, have clear rules of
correspondence)?
3. Is the theory conrmed and validated by rigorous re-
search that has high generalizability?
4. Has the implementation of the practical procedures
resulted in eld research validating the effectiveness of
the procedures in ways that guide the renement and
modication of the theory?
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 87
The power of cooperative learning lies in the interrelationship among
social interdependence theory, its validating research, and the practical
procedures for educators derived from the theory. This article begins
with a denition of cooperative learning and then continues with a brief
review of social interdependence theory (which focuses on cooperative,
competitive, and individualistic efforts). Social interdependence theory
illuminates the internal dynamics of cooperation so that they may be op-
erationalized into a set of practical procedures that university instructors
can actually use. Next, a meta-analysis of the research conducted at the
university level is presented, revealing how the theory has been tested
and validated. Finally, the instructional procedures of implementing
cooperative learning are presented.
Denition of Cooperative Learning
Students’ learning goals may be structured to promote cooperative,
competitive, or individualistic efforts. In every classroom, instructional
activities are aimed at accomplishing goals and are conducted under a goal
structure. A learning goal is a desired future state of demonstrating com-
petence or mastery in the subject area being studied (Johnson & Johnson,
1989, 1999). The goal structure species the ways in which students will
interact with each other and the instructor during the instructional session.
Each goal structure has its place (Johnson & Johnson, 1989, 1999). In the
ideal classroom, all students would learn how to work cooperatively with
others, compete for fun and enjoyment, and work autonomously on their
own. The instructor decides which goal structure to implement within
each lesson. The most important goal structure, and the one that should
be used the majority of the time in learning situations, is cooperation.
Cooperation is working together to accomplish shared goals (John-
son & Johnson, 1989, 1999; Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 2006). Within
cooperative situations, individuals seek outcomes that are benecial to
themselves and benecial to all other group members. Cooperative learning
is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together
to maximize their own and each other’s learning. It may be contrasted
with competitive learning (students work against each other to achieve
an academic goal such as a grade of “A” that only one or a few students
can attain) and individualistic learning (students work by themselves
to accomplish learning goals unrelated to those of the other students)
learning. In cooperative and individualistic learning, students’ efforts are
evaluated on a criteria-referenced basis, whereas in competitive learning,
they are evaluated on a norm-referenced basis. While there are limitations
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching88
on when and where competitive and individualistic learning may be used
appropriately, any learning task in any subject area with any curriculum
may be structured cooperatively.
Theoretical Roots of Cooperative Learning:
Social Interdependence Theory
The rst question instructors need to ask is whether cooperative learn-
ing is based on a clearly formulated theory. The use of cooperative learning
in university classes has its roots in the creation of social interdependence
theory. Theorizing about social interdependence began in the early 1900s,
when one of the founders of the Gestalt school of psychology, Kurt Koffka,
proposed that groups were dynamic wholes in which the interdependence
among members could vary. One of Koffka’s colleagues, Kurt Lewin, re-
ned his notions in the 1920s and 1930s while stating that (a) the essence
of a group is the interdependence among members (created by common
goals), which results in the group being a “dynamic whole” so that a
change in the state of any member or subgroup changes the state of any
other member or subgroup; and (b) an intrinsic state of tension within
group members, which motivates them toward the accomplishment of
the desired common goals. For interdependence to exist, there must be
more than one person or entity involved, and the persons or entities must
have impact on each other in that a change in the state of one causes a
change in the state of the others. From the work of Lewin’s students and
colleagues, such as Ovisankian, Lissner, Mahler, and Lewis (Johnson &
Johnson, 1989), it may be concluded that it is the drive for goal accom-
plishment that motivates cooperative and competitive behavior.
In the late 1940s, one of Lewin’s graduate students, Morton Deutsch,
extended Lewin’s reasoning about social interdependence and formulated
a theory of cooperation and competition (Deutsch, 1949, 1962). Deutsch
conceptualized three types of social interdependence (see Figure 1):
1. Positive interdependence (cooperation) exists when in-
dividuals’ goal achievements are positively correlated;
individuals perceive that they can reach their goals if
and only if the others in the group also reach their goals.
2. Negative interdependence (competition) exists when in-
dividuals’ goal achievements are negatively correlated;
each individual perceives that when one person achieves
his or her goal, all others with whom he or she is com-
petitively linked fail to achieve their goals.
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 89
Figure 1
Overview of Social Interdependence Theory*
Social Interdependence
Positive
Interdependence
Negative
Interdependence
No Interdependence
Promotive Interaction
Oppositional
Interaction
No Interaction
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching90
Psychological
Processes
Positive Cathexis
Substitutability
Inducibility
Psychological
Processes
Negative Cathexis
Non-Substitutability
Resistance To
Influence
Psychological Processes
No Cathexis,
No Substitutability,
No Inducibility
Figure 1 (
continued
)
Overview of Social Interdependence Theory*
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 91
Outcomes
High Effort To
Achieve
Positive Relationships
High Psychological
Health
Outcomes
Low Effort To
Achieve
Negative
Relationships
Moderate
Psychological Health
Outcomes
Low Effort To Achieve
No Relationships
Low Psychological
Health
Note. *Reprinted with permission from Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Holubec, E. J. (2008).
Cooperation in the classroom (8
th
ed.). Edina, MN: Interaction.
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching92
3. No interdependence occurs when a situation is structured
individualistically, so that there is no correlation among
participants’ goal attainments; each individual perceives
that he or she can reach his or her goal regardless of
whether other individuals attain or do not attain their
goals.
The basic premise of social interdependence theory is that the type of
interdependence structured in a situation determines how individuals
interact with each other, and this, in turn, largely determines outcomes
(Deutsch, 1949, 1962; Johnson, 1970; Watson & Johnson, 1972). Positive
interdependence tends to result in promotive interaction, where individuals
promote each other’s success; negative interdependence tends to result in
oppositional or contrient interaction, where individuals block or obstruct
each other’s efforts to succeed; and no interdependence results in an
absence of interaction. Depending on whether individuals promote or
obstruct each other’s goal accomplishments, there is substitutability (that
is, the degree to which actions of one person substitute for the actions of
another person), cathexis (that is, an investment of psychological energy
in objects outside of oneself, such as friends, family, and work), and
inducibility (that is, the openness to being inuenced and to inuencing
others) (Deutsch, 1949).
In cooperative situations, collaborators’ actions tend to substitute
for each other, collaborators invest positive emotions in each other, and
collaborators are open to being inuenced by each other. In competitive
situations, competitors’ actions do not substitute for each other, compet-
itors invest negative emotions in each other, and competitors are closed
to being inuenced by each other. In individualistic situations, there is no
substitutability, cathexis, or inducibility. The relationship between the type
of social interdependence and the interaction pattern it elicits is assumed
to be bidirectional (Deutsch, 1962). Each may cause the other. Positive
interdependence, for example, tends to result in collaborators engaging in
promotive interaction (that is, helping, sharing, encouraging each other),
but patterns of promotive interaction tend to result in cooperation. Social
interdependence theory has served as a major conceptual structure for this
area of inquiry since 1949. It has generated hundreds of research studies.
The Internal Dynamics That Make Cooperation Work
The second question instructors need to ask is whether social interde-
pendence theory can generate the identication of the conditions necessary
for structuring cooperation in actual situations. Not all group efforts are
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 93
cooperative. Simply assigning students to groups and telling them to
work together does not in and of itself result in cooperative efforts. There
are many ways in which group efforts may go wrong. Seating students
together can result in competition at close quarters (pseudo-groups) or
individualistic efforts with discussion (traditional learning groups). When-
ever two individuals interact, however, the potential for cooperation exists.
Cooperation, though, will develop only under a certain set of conditions.
These conditions, which are identied by social interdependence theory,
are positive interdependence, individual accountability, promotive inter-
action, social skills, and group processing (Johnson & Johnson, 1989, 2005).
The essential heart of cooperative efforts is positive interdependence,
the perception that one is linked with others in a way that one’s success
is not possible unless others succeed (and vice versa) and that group
members’ work benets one’s and one’s work benets them (Johnson &
Johnson, 1992). There are three major categories of interdependence: out-
come interdependence, means interdependence, and boundary interdependence
(Johnson & Johnson, 1989, 1992). When persons are in a cooperative or
competitive situation, they are oriented toward a desired outcome, end
state, goal, or reward. If there is no outcome interdependence (goal and
reward interdependence), there is no cooperation or competition. In ad-
dition, the means through which the mutual goals or rewards are to be
accomplish specify the actions required on the part of group members.
Means interdependence includes resource, role, and task interdependence
(which are overlapping and not independent from each other). Finally,
the boundaries existing among individuals and groups can dene who is
interdependent with whom. Boundary interdependence consists of abrupt
discontinuities that separate and segregate groups from each other, as well
as unify the members of any one group.
Discontinuity may be created by environmental factors (different parts
of the room or different rooms), similarity (all seated together or wearing
the same color shirt), proximity (seated together), past history together,
expectations of being grouped together, and differentiation from other
competing groups. Boundary interdependence, thus, includes outside
enemy interdependence (negative interdependence with another group),
identity interdependence (which binds group members together as an
entity), and environmental interdependence (such as a specic work area).
These are overlapping and not independent from each other.
The second essential element of cooperative efforts is individual
accountability, which exists when the performance of each individual
student is assessed, and the results are given back to the group and the
individual (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). Each group member has a personal
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching94
responsibility for completing one’s share of the work and facilitating the
work of other group members. Group members also need to know (a) who
needs more assistance, support, and encouragement in completing the
assignment and (b) that they cannot “hitch-hike” on the work of others.
The purpose of cooperative learning is to make each member a stronger
individual in his or her right. Students learn together so that they can
subsequently perform higher as individuals. To ensure that each member
is strengthened, students are held individually accountable to complete
assignments, learn what is being taught, and help other group members
do the same. Individual accountability may be structured by (a) giving
an individual test to each student, (b) having each student explain what
he or she has learned to a classmate, or (b) observing each group and
documenting the contributions of each member.
The third essential element of cooperative efforts is promotive interaction
(Johnson & Johnson, 1989). Students promote each other’s success by
helping, assisting, supporting, encouraging, and praising each other’s
efforts to learn. Doing so results in such cognitive processes as orally
explaining how to solve problems, discussing the nature of the concepts
being learned, teaching one’s knowledge to classmates, challenging each
other’s reasoning and conclusions, and connecting present with past
learning. It also results in such interpersonal processes as modeling ap-
propriate use of social skills, supporting and encouraging efforts to learn,
and participating in joint celebrations of success.
The fourth essential element of cooperative efforts is the appropri-
ate use of social skills (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). Contributing to the
success of a cooperative effort requires interpersonal and small group
skills. Leadership, decision-making, trust-building, communication, and
conict-management skills have to be taught just as purposefully and
precisely as academic skills. Procedures and strategies for teaching stu-
dents social skills may be found in Johnson (2014), Johnson and Johnson
(2013), and Johnson and Johnson (1997).
The fth essential element of cooperative efforts is group processing,
the examination of the process members are using to maximize their own
and each other’s learning so that ways to improve the process may be
identied (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). Instructors need to focus students
on the continuous improvement of the quality of the processes students
are using to learn by asking group members to (a) describe what member
actions are helpful and unhelpful in ensuring that all group members are
achieving and effective working relationships are being maintained and
(b) make decisions about what behaviors to continue or change. Group
processing may result in (a) streamlining the learning process to make
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 95
it simpler (reducing complexity), (b) eliminating unskilled and inappro-
priate actions (error-proong the process), (c) improving continuously
students’ skills in working as part of a team, and (d) celebrating hard
work and success.
Understanding how to implement the ve essential elements enables
instructors to (a) structure any lesson in any subject area with any set of
curriculum materials cooperatively; (b) ne-tune and adapt cooperative
learning to their specic circumstances, needs, and students; and (c) in-
tervene to improve the effectiveness of any group that is malfunctioning.
Validating Research: Meta-Analysis
Early History
The third question instructors need to ask is whether there has been
rigorous research with high generalizability to test and conrm social inter-
dependence theory. The investigation of the relative impact of competitive,
individualistic, and cooperative efforts is the perhaps the longest standing
research tradition in social psychology. It began with research studies in
the late 1800s by Turner in England and Triplett in the United States and
in the early 1900s by Mayer (1903) in Germany and Ringelmann (1913) in
France. In the 1920s and 1930s, there were at least two major reviews of
the research on cooperation and competition (Maller, 1929; May & Doob,
1937). The current focus on the use of cooperative learning in university
classrooms, however, has its roots primarily in (a) Deutsch’s (1949) theory
development, review of research, and research study demonstrating the
power of cooperation learning in a psychology class at MIT and (b) our
extensions of the theory and research and our development of practical
procedures (Johnson, 1970, 2003; Johnson & Johnson, 1974, 1989, 1999,
2005, 2009; Johnson et al., 2006). Before 1970, almost all of the research
studies on cooperation and competition were conducted in university
classrooms and in research laboratories using university students as
participants. Subsequently, the research been conducted in a variety of
other settings, such as pre-university education and business and indus-
try. While the entire literature has been summarized in the past (Johnson
& Johnson, 1989, 1999, 2005, 2009), a comprehensive review of only the
studies conducted in universities has been done infrequently.
Meta-Analysis of University Studies
Since the 1960s, over 305 studies have been conducted comparing the
relative efcacy of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching96
on individual achievement in university and adult settings (Johnson et
al., 2006). Given the number of relevant studies, meta-analysis seems to
be the most appropriate procedure for summarizing the results.
Characteristics of Studies
Most of the comparative research studies were conducted in the 1960s,
1970s, and 1980s (see Table 1). Sixty-one percent of these studies randomly
assigned subjects or groups to conditions, and 81% were published in
journals. Eighty percent of the studies were of nine class sessions or less.
The studies were conducted in numerous subject areas (science, social
science, computer science, English, reading, math, psychology, health,
physical education) with a wide variety of tasks (verbal, mathematical,
procedural). While most of the studies were conducted in North Amer-
ica, studies were also conducted in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Different research methodologies were used. While numerous dependent
variables were studied, they may be grouped into three categories: effort
to achieve, quality of relationships, and psychological health (see Figure
2). In addition, there are a number of studies on attitudes toward the
university experience.
Academic Success
One of the most important inuences on the university experience is
whether students achieve academically. University attrition is affected
in numerous ways by academic success (Tinto, 1993). Some students
are dismissed from the university due to academic failure. Academic
failure may create uncertainty about the relevance of the university and
its curricula. Academic achievement may increase students’ intellectual
adjustment and sense of membership in the university as well as their
integration into academic life. The higher the achievement of students,
the more committed they tend to be to completing a degree. Academic
success may also mean greater eligibility for nancial aid. For these and
many other reasons, it is important to use the instructional methods that
maximize student achievement.
Over 168 studies have been conducted comparing the relative ef-
cacy of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning on the
achievement of individuals 18 years or older. The results of these stud-
ies indicated that cooperative learning promoted higher individual
achievement than did competitive (effect size = 0.49) or individualistic
(effect size = 0.53) learning (see Table 2). These are signicant and sub-
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 97
Table 1
Characteristics of University Studies
Characteristic
Number
Percentage
Decade
1910-19
1
0.3
1920-29
5
1.6
1930-39
5
1.6
1940-49
2
0.6
1950-59
17
5.4
1960-69
61
19.6
1970-79
63
20.2
1980-89
94
30.1
1990-99
56
17.9
2000-09
8
2.6
Assignment
Random by Individual
150
48.1
Random by Group
41
13.2
Nonrandom
121
38.8
Mode of Publication
?
?
Journal Article
253
81.1
Book
2
0.6
Masters Thesis
3
1.0
Ph.D. Dissertation
27
8.7
Technical Report
17
5.4
Unpublished
10
3.2
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching98
stantial increases in achievement. The achievement measures included
knowledge acquisition, retention, accuracy and creativity of problem
solving, and higher-level reasoning. These results held for verbal tasks
(such as reading, writing, and orally presenting), mathematical tasks,
and procedural tasks (such as swimming, golf, and tennis). There are
also studies nding an advantage for cooperative learning in promoting
metacognitive thought, willingness to take on difcult tasks and persist
(despite difculties) in working toward goal accomplishment, intrinsic
motivation, transfer of learning from one situation to another, and greater
time on task (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). These results are corroborated
in a meta-analysis focusing only on university level one science, math,
engineering, and technology courses (Springer, Stanne, & Donovan, 1999).
These results have important implications for the ndings on university
effectiveness (Astin, 1993; McKeachie, Pintrich, Yi-Guang, & Smith, 1986;
Pascarella, 2001; Tinto, 1993). Cooperative learning increases dramatically
students’ involvement and engagement in learning. Pascarella and Teren-
zini (2005) note that the greater a student’s involvement or engagement
in academic work or in the academic experience of college, the greater his
or her level of knowledge acquisition and general cognitive development.
Kuh and his associates (2005, 2007) conclude that cooperative learning
Table 1 (
continued
)
Characteristics of University Studies
Characteristic
Number
Percentage
Duration
1-9
249
79.8
10-19
15
4.8
20-29
13
4.2
30-39
10
3.2
40-49
14
4.5
50-99
11
3.4
Total
312
100
Note. *Reprinted with permission from Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., &
Smith, K. (2006). Cooperation in the college classroom (4
th
ed.). Edina, MN:
Interaction.
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 99
encourages student engagement and invariably leads to better student
learning outcomes regardless of academic discipline. Astin (1993) found
that student-student and student-faculty interaction were the two major
Figure 2
Outcomes of Cooperative Learning*
Note. *Reprinted with permission from Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R.
(1989). Cooperation and Competition: theory and research. Edina, MN:
Interaction.
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching100
inuences on university effectiveness (academic development, personal
development, and satisfaction with the university experience). He notes
that this interaction must be cooperative, not competitive. McKeachie
and his associates (1986) found that learning how to engage in critical
thinking depends on student participation in class, instructor encourage-
ment, and student-student interaction, all of which occur in cooperative,
not competitive or individualistic, learning situations. Pascarella (2001)
found in a three-year national (U.S.) longitudinal study of the inuences
on undergraduate student learning that a student’s peer group and in-
teraction with peers strongly affects cognitive growth.
Finally, the higher achievement resulting from cooperative efforts inu-
ences the eight causes (discussed in this paragraph) for students leaving
university before they graduate (Tinto, 1993). The higher achievement
promoted by cooperative learning may be hypothesized to decrease the
number of students dismissed from the university due to academic fail-
ure, and their resulting academic success may decrease the uncertainty
students may feel about the relevance of their university experience.
When students achieve, increases may be expected in the quality of their
sense of intellectual membership, intellectual adjustment, integration into
academic life, commitment to completing their studies, and perception of
the relevance of the curricula to their needs. Finally, higher achievement
may mean greater eligibility for nancial aid, which may reduce their
nancial cost for university study.
Table 2
Mean Weighted Effect Sizes for Impact
of Social Interdependence on Dependent Variables*
Variable
Cooperation vs.
Competition
Cooperation vs.
Individualistic
Achievement
0.54
0.51
Interpersonal
Attraction
0.68
0.55
Social Support
0.60
0.51
Self-Esteem
0.47
0.29
Positive Attitudes
0.37
0.42
Note. *Reprinted with permission from Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., &
Smith, K. (2006). Cooperation in the college classroom (4
th
ed.). Edina, MN:
Interaction.
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 101
Quality of Relationships
The quality of university life may largely depend on the quality of
the relationships among students and between students and faculty (As-
tin, 1993; McKeachie et al., 1986; Pascarella, 2001; Tinto, 1993). Positive
interpersonal relationships may increase the quality of students’ social
adjustment to university life, increase the importance of social goals for
students’ continued attendance, reduce their uncertainty about attending
the university, increase their commitment to stay, increase their integration
into university life, reduce incongruences between students’ interests
and university curricula, and increase students’ social membership in
the university (Tinto, 1993).
The results of the meta-analysis indicate that cooperative efforts pro-
moted greater interpersonal attraction among students than did competing
with others (effect size = 0.68) or working individualistically on one’s
own (effect size = 0.55), even among university students from different
ethnic, cultural, language, social class, ability, and gender groups (see
Table 2). These studies included measures of interpersonal attraction,
esprit-de-corps, cohesiveness, and trust. In addition, university students
learning cooperatively perceived more social support (both academically
and personally) from peers and instructors than did students working
competitively (effect size = 0.60) or individualistically (effect size = 0.51).
The positive interpersonal relationships promoted by cooperative
learning are the heart of the university learning community.
Psychological Adjustment
Attending a university can require considerable personal adjustments
for many students. In our meta-analysis of the research, we found co-
operativeness to be highly correlated with a wide variety of indices of
psychological health in a wide variety of university age populations (John-
son & Johnson, 1989). Competitiveness was related to a complex mixture of
indices of health and pathology; individualistic attitudes were related to a
wide variety of indices of psychological pathology. One important aspect
of psychological health is self-esteem. University-level studies indicate
that cooperation tends to promote higher self-esteem than competitive
(effect size = 0.47) or individualistic (effect size = 0.29) efforts. Members
of cooperative groups also become more socially skilled than do students
working competitively or individualistically.
The psychological health promoted by cooperative learning has mul-
tiple effects on the university experience. First, it increases the ability of
students to initiate, form, and maintain meaningful interpersonal rela-
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching102
tionships (Tinto, 1993). In addition, psychological health may increase
students’ academic self-concept and self-efcacy, quality of psychological
adjustment to university life, ability to formulate and achieve meaning-
ful goals including career goals, ability to deal with uncertainty, ability
to commit to goals that require a university education, integration into
the university community, a better understanding of one’s interests and
needs and the possible relevance of the university curricula, and the abil-
ity to nd ways that personal goals may be met within current situations
(Tinto, 1993).
Positive Attitudes Toward the University Experience
The more positive students’ attitudes toward their university expe-
rience, the more likely they are to stay at the university and participate
fully in university life. Thirty-nine studies have focused on students’
attitudes. Cooperative learning tends to promote more positive attitudes
toward learning, the subject area, and the university than do competi-
tive (effect size = 0.37) or individualistic (effect size = 0.42) learning (see
Table 2). Furthermore, there are numerous social psychological theories
predicting that students’ values, attitudes, and behavioral patterns are
most effectively developed and changed in cooperative groups (Johnson
& Johnson, 2013). It is in cooperative group discussions that students
learn the norms of university life, publicly commit themselves to adopt
prosocial attitudes and behavior, are exposed to visible and credible so-
cial models, and advocate attitudes and behaviors to others. Cooperative
groups are perhaps the most effective tool universities have for inculcating
constructive and positive attitudes in students.
Reciprocal Relationships Among Outcomes
The outcomes resulting from cooperative efforts tend to be reciprocally
related (Johnson & Johnson, 1989). The more effort students expend in
working together to achieve, the more they tend to like each other. The
more they like each other, the harder they tend to work to learn. The more
individuals work together to learn, the more socially competent they
become, the higher their self-esteem, and the greater their psychological
health. The healthier individuals are psychologically, the more effectively
they tend to work together to achieve. The more caring and committed
relationships individuals are involved in, the healthier they will tend to
be psychologically; the healthier individuals are psychologically, the more
able they are to form caring and committed relationships. These multiple
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 103
outcomes form a gestalt that is central to a high-quality university expe-
rience and to creating a university learning community.
The Research Is Even More Impressive Than It Looks
The research on cooperative learning is like a diamond. The more light
is focused on it, the brighter and more multi-faceted it becomes. The pow-
er of cooperative learning is clearly illuminated by the magnitude of the
effect sizes, but the more we read the research and the more closely we
examine the studies, the better cooperative learning looks. What follows
are some of the reasons.
First, the research studies are a combination of theoretical and demon-
stration studies conducted in labs, classrooms, and universities as a whole.
While the lab studies may have lasted for only one session, some of the
demonstration studies lasted for the entire semester or academic year.
Demonstration studies are usually (a) summative evaluations demonstrat-
ing that cooperative learning produces benecial results or (b) comparative
summative evaluations demonstrating that one cooperative learning
procedure works better than others. The combination of scientic and
demonstration studies strengthens the condence university instructors
can have in the effectiveness of cooperative learning procedures.
Second, the research on cooperative learning has a validity and a
generalizability rarely found in the educational literature. It has been
conducted over 11 decades by numerous researchers with markedly
different orientations working in different universities and countries. Re-
search participants have varied as to economic class, age, sex, nationality,
and cultural background. The researchers have used a wide variety of
tasks, subject areas, ways of structuring cooperative learning, and ways
of measuring dependent variables. Vastly different methodologies have
been used. The combination of the amount and diversity of the research
is almost unparalleled.
Finally, cooperative learning is a very cost-effective instructional pro-
cedure. It affects many different instructional outcomes simultaneously.
Implementation of Cooperative Learning
The fourth question instructors need to ask is whether the implemen-
tation of the practical procedures resulted in eld research validating the
effectiveness of the procedures in ways that reveal inadequacies in the the-
ory and guide the renement and modication of the theory (see Johnson,
2003; Johnson and Johnson, 2005, 2009; Johnson, Johnson, and Holubec,
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching104
2008; Johnson et al., 2008). In the cycle of theory-research-practice, it is
necessary to operationalize the theory into a set of practical procedures
that university instructors may actually use. Actually, professors have
been using cooperative learning throughout history. For thousands of
years, it has been understood that in order to understand the Talmud, one
must have a learning partner. Socrates taught students in small groups,
engaging them in dialogues in his famous “art of discourse.” As early
as the rst century, Quintilian argued that students could benet from
teaching one another, and the philosopher Seneca advocated coopera-
tive learning through such statements as “Qui Docet Discet” (“When you
teach, you learn twice.”). Johann Amos Comenius (1592-1679) believed
that students would benet both by teaching and being taught by other
students. Throughout history, then, cooperative learning has been used.
What is new is the systematic development of cooperative instructional
procedures based on theory validated by research. It is only recently that
the procedures for using cooperative learning have been derived from
social interdependence theory and its validating research.
Cooperative learning is the instructional use of small groups so that
students work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning
(Johnson et al., 2008). Within cooperative learning groups, students discuss
the material to be learned, help and assist each other to understand it, and
encourage each other to work hard. Any assignment in any curriculum for
any student can be done cooperatively. There are basically three ways in
which cooperative learning may be structured in the university classroom
(Johnson et al., 2008). Instructors may use formal cooperative learning,
informal cooperative learning, and cooperative base groups.
Formal Cooperative Learning
Formal cooperative learning consists of students working together, for
one class period to several weeks, to achieve shared learning goals and
complete jointly specic tasks and assignments (such as decision mak-
ing or problem solving, completing a curriculum unit, writing a report,
conducting a survey or experiment, reading a chapter or reference book,
learning vocabulary, or answering questions at the end of the chapter)
(Johnson et al., 2008). Any course requirement or assignment may be
structured cooperatively. In formal cooperative learning groups, instruc-
tors do the following:
1. Make a number of pre-instructional decisions. Instruc-
tors specify the objectives for the lesson (both academic
and social skills) and decide on the size of groups, the
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 105
method of assigning students to groups, the roles stu-
dents will be assigned, the materials needed to conduct
the lesson, and the way the room will be arranged.
2. Explain the task and the positive interdependence.
Instructors clearly dene the assignment, teach the
required concepts and strategies, specify the positive
interdependence and individual accountability, give
the criteria for success, and explain the expected social
skills to be used.
3. Monitor students’ learning and intervene within
the groups to provide task assistance or to increase
students’ interpersonal and group skills. Instructors
systematically observe and collect data on each group
as it works. When needed, instructors intervene to as-
sist students in completing the task accurately and in
working together effectively.
4. Assess students’ learning and helping students process
how well their groups functioned. Instructors carefully
assess and evaluate students’ learning performance.
Members of the learning groups then discuss how effec-
tively they worked together and how they can improve
in the future.
Informal Cooperative Learning
Informal cooperative learning consists of having students work together
to achieve a joint learning goal in temporary, ad-hoc groups that last from
a few minutes to one class period (Johnson et al., 2008). During a lecture,
demonstration, or lm, informal cooperative learning can be used to focus
students’ attention on the material to be learned, set a mood conducive to
learning, help set expectations as to what will be covered in a class ses-
sion, ensure that students cognitively process and rehearse the material
being taught, summarize what was learned and pre-cue the next session,
and provide closure to an instructional session. During direct teaching,
the instructional challenge for the instructor is to ensure that students
do the intellectual work of organizing material, explaining it, summa-
rizing it, and integrating it into existing conceptual structures. Informal
cooperative learning groups are often organized so that students engage
in three-to-ve-minute focused discussions before and after a lecture
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching106
and two-to-three-minute turn-to-your-partner discussions interspersed
throughout a lecture.
Cooperative Base Groups
Cooperative base groups are long-term, heterogeneous cooperative learn-
ing groups with stable membership (Johnson et al., 2008). Base groups give
the support, help, encouragement, and assistance each member needs to
make academic progress (attend class, complete all assignments, learn)
and develop cognitively and socially in healthy ways. Base groups are
permanent (lasting from one to several years) and provide the long-term,
caring peer relationships necessary to inuence members consistently to
work hard in school. The use of base groups tends to improve attendance,
personalize the work required and the school experience, and improve the
quality and quantity of learning. Positive development is enhanced when
base groups are given responsibility—for example, the responsibility for
conducting a year-long service project to improve the school.
The three types of cooperative learning complement and support
each other. A typical 90-minute class session, for example, begins with
a base group meeting of 5-10 minutes in which members welcome each
other and check each member’s homework to ensure it is completed and
understood. Second, the instructor gives a short lecture with informal
cooperative learning to introduce the objectives, schedule and topic of
the class session. Third, the instructor uses formal cooperative learning
to conduct an instructional activity focused on the topic of the session.
Fourth, near the end of the class, the instructor summarizes (using infor-
mal cooperative learning) what has taken place, notes interesting ideas
that were generated by the formal cooperative groups, and explains how
the lesson leads into the assignment for the next class session. Fifth, the
class session ends with a base group meeting, in which students review
what they have learned, what homework has been assigned, and what
help each member needs to complete the homework.
What Makes Universities Successful
There is more to university life than attending classes. For many
students, attending a university is the rst time they have lived away
from home. They leave their family, friends, and acquaintances to create
a new life among strangers and become members of a new community.
The experience is a success, for the student and for the institution, if the
student completes a degree within three to ve years and views his or
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 107
her university experience fondly and positively. Correspondingly, the
experience is a failure for the student and the institution if the student
leaves the university before graduation or remembers his or her university
experience with bitterness or indifference. Tinto (1993) identied eight
causes for leaving the university before graduating: low academic per-
formance, poor adjustment to university life, uncertainty about personal
goals, lack of commitment to completing a degree, nancial hardship,
lack of academic and social integration into university life, incongruence
between university curricula and students’ interests, and social and in-
tellectual isolation (see Table 3).
It is reasonable to predict that the more frequently cooperative learning
is used in the university, the more successful the university will be. The
academic achievement promoted by cooperative learning may increase
students’ academic success (thus reducing failure), enhance intellectual
adjustment and intellectual integration into the university, help students
set academic goals and enlarge the possibilities of what they may accom-
plish academically, increase academic commitment, increase chances for
nancial aid, and increase congruence between intellectual interests and
the university’s curricula. The positive interpersonal relationships fostered
by cooperative experiences may increase students’ desire and ability to
learn and achieve, to adjust to new relationships and become socially in-
tegrated into campus life, to set social goals, to reduce uncertainty about
these goals, to increase commitment to other students, and to increase the
sense of congruence between attending the university and relationship
goals. The increased psychological health promoted by cooperative ex-
periences may increase students’ academic self-esteem, self-efcacy, and
psychological adjustment; increase their ability to clarify personal goals,
cope with uncertainty, maintain constructive relationships with diverse
schoolmates, form coalitions to achieve goals, and ability to adapt personal
goals to current situations.
Building a Learning Community
Retaining students depends primarily on integrating them into the
social and academic university community and helping them acquire the
skills and knowledge needed to become successful learners (Tinto, 1997).
In addition, in programs such as engineering, medicine, and many others,
students are expected to be socialized into a community of practice (Lave
& Wenger, 1991). In addition, many universities try to create learning
communities through learning clusters and linked courses. By denition,
a community rests on a foundation of cooperation. A community is a lim-
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching108
Table 3
Outcomes of Cooperative Learning and Factors Influencing Continued Attendance
Factors
(Tinto, 1993)
Achievement
Interpersonal
Relationships
Psychological Health
Academic Failure
Academic Success
Social Pressure to
Achieve
Self-Concept, Self-
Efficacy
Adjustment
Intellectual
Adjustment
Social Adjustment
Psychological
Adjustment
Relevance of
University to Goals
Academic Goal Setting
Social Goal Setting
Setting & Achieving
Meaningful Goals
Uncertainty About
Life Goals
Academic Success
Creates Possibilities
Friends Create
Possibilities
Ability to Deal With
Uncertainty
Commitment to
University Education
Academic
Commitment
Social Commitment to
Be With Friends
Ability to Commit to
Goals
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 109
Finances
Increases Eligibility
for Financial Aid
Integration Into
University Life
Intellectual Integration
Social Integration
Develop & Maintain
Relationships
University Life &
Needs Incongruent
Intellectual Interests &
Curricula Congruent
Relationship Goals &
Attending University
Congruent
Ability to Adapt
Personal Goals to
Current Situations
Academic & Social
Isolation
Intellectual Integration
Social Integration
Form Coalitions to
Achieve Goals
Note. *Reprinted with permission from Johnson, D. W., Johnson, R. T., & Smith, K. (2006).
Cooperation in the college classroom (4
th
ed.). Edina, MN: Interaction.
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching110
ited number of people who share common goals and a common culture
(Johnson & Johnson, 2008). For a community to exist and sustain itself,
members must share common goals and values that dene appropriate
behavior and increase the quality of life within the community. Within
a community, everyone should know everyone else and realize that re-
lationships are long-term (as opposed to temporary, brief encounters).
Creating a learning community requires emphasizing the overall positive
interdependence among members. Faculty, administrators, staff, and
students should believe that they are striving to achieve mutual goals,
such as delivering quality education, preparing for careers, promoting the
intellectual and social development of students, increasing knowledge,
applying knowledge to solve social problems, and searching for truth.
Such goals tend to be accomplished only through cooperative efforts.
Once the overall cooperative structure of the university is established,
there is a need to make the epistemology and the pedagogy used con-
gruent. For most universities and for most students, the primary contact
among students and between students and faculty occurs in the classroom.
Any attempt to create an academic and social community, thus, begins in
the classroom. If students do not engage with each other and with the fac-
ulty in the classroom, they tend not to engage elsewhere. The epistemology
resulting from (a) creating a competitive environment in which students
are ranked from highest to lowest performer and (b) making students
passive recipients of instruction (such as lectures) mitigates against the
formation of a learning community. Developing a learning community
requires an epistemology based on cooperation, that is, the use of formal
and informal cooperative learning and cooperative base groups.
Cooperative Learning as a Foundation
for Other Forms of Active Learning
It should be noted that there are numerous types of active learning,
but each one assumes that students understand how to operate within a
cooperative group. Cooperative learning underlies all successful use of
the types of active learning, such as problem-based learning, case-based
learning, project-based learning, learning by design, inquiry learning,
anchored instruction, team-based learning, and collaborative learning
(Johnson et al., 2006). With each of the procedures for making learning
active, however, there is a change in the instructor’s role. The instruc-
tor becomes a designer, an engineer, of learning experiences, not just a
presenter of information. Three of these active learning procedures are
discussed in more detail next.
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 111
Problem-Based Learning
Problem-based learning (PBL) may be dened as giving students a prob-
lem to understand and solve with the goal of having them learn relevant
information and procedures (Allen & Duch, 1998; Barrows & Tamblyn,
1980; Smith, Sheppard, Johnson, & Johnson, 2005). Solving the problem
correctly is less important than participating in the process of gathering
and learning the information and procedures relevant to solving the prob-
lems. PBL was developed for small groups of students to work together
to ensure that the relevant information and procedures are discovered
and mastered by all members of the group. It is inherently a cooperative
enterprise where the instructor is a facilitator or guide (not a lecturer).
Obviously, if the groups are structured competitively or individualisti-
cally, the resulting learning would be signicantly reduced. PBL groups
need to be structured cooperatively, thus making cooperative learning
the foundation on which problem-based learning is built. When this
connection between cooperative learning and problem-based learning
is explicit, it is known as cooperative problem-based learning or prob-
lem-based cooperative learning. The inuence of cooperative learning on
engineering education is summarized in Smith’s (2011) refection on 30
years of championing this research-based practice.
Team-Based Learning
Team-based learning (TBL) is an instructional strategy using learning
teams to enhance the quality of student learning (Michaelsen, Watson,
Cragin, & Fink, 1982). The instructor assigns students with diverse skill
sets and backgrounds to permanent groups of ve to seven members.
Students are individually accountable for homework assignments and
for contributing to team efforts in class. Signicant credit is given for in-
class team activities and application exercises. These in-class activities
are aimed at promoting both academic learning and team development
and are structured to give students frequent and timely feedback on their
efforts. Obviously, the teams in TBL have to be structured cooperatively.
Competitive and individualistic goal structures will serious damage the
productivity of learning teams. Team-based learning is, in effect, another
form of cooperative learning.
Collaborative Learning
Collaborative learning has its roots in the work of Britton and others in
England in the 1970s (Britton, 1990). Based on the theorizing of Vygotsky
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching112
(1978), Britton notes that just as the individual mind is derived from
society, a student’s learning is derived from the community of learners.
This community is developed by the students. Britton is quite critical of
educators who provide specic denitions of the teacher’s and students’
roles. He recommends placing students in groups and letting them gen-
erate their own culture, community, and procedures for learning. Britton
believed in natural learning (learning something by making intuitive re-
sponses to whatever efforts produce) rather than training (the application
of explanations, instructions, or recipes for action). The source of learning
in collaborative learning is interpersonal; learning is derived from dia-
logues and interactions with other students and sometimes the teacher.
Britton viewed the structure imposed by teachers as manipulation that
leads to training, not learning; therefore, he felt teachers should assign
students to groups, provide no guidelines or instructions, and stay out of
their way until the class is over. As an educational procedure, therefore,
collaborative learning has historically been much less structured and more
student directed than cooperative learning, with only vague directions
given to teachers about its use. Cooperative and collaborative learning
both stress the centrality of interdependence; however, the vagueness in
the role of the teacher and students results in a vagueness of denition
of the nature of collaborative learning.
While Britton was committed to the unstructured nature of group learn-
ing, cooperative learning provides a clear conceptual structure and a set
of clear procedures for instructors who wish more direction. Cooperative
learning could, thus, be a foundation on which collaborative learning
could be made more specic.
Peer-Assisted Learning
Recently, peer-assisted learning (PAL) has been adopted by university
instructors in the U.S. PAL may be dened as students acquiring knowl-
edge and skills through active helping among equal classmates (Topping
& Ehly, (1998). It subsumes reciprocal peer tutoring, which involves same-
age student pairs of comparable ability whose responsibility is to keep
each other engaged in constructive academic activity (Fantuzzo & Gins-
burg-Block, 1998). PAL is different from traditional peer tutoring, which
tends to involve students of different ages or different achievement levels.
Clearly, PAL is based on cooperation, as assistance and encouragement
tends not to take place in competitive interaction.
Improving University Instruction Through Cooperative Learning 113
Summary
What differentiates cooperative learning from these other group-based
instructional methods is that it is tied directly to social-psychological
theory and the research conducted to validate or disconrm the theory.
It is the interrelationship between theory, research, and practice that sets
cooperative learning apart. It is this relationship that makes cooperative
learning the foundation on which other forms of small-group instruction
are based.
Conclusions
There have been many attempts to change university teaching, some
successful, many unsuccessful. One of major change in university teaching
occurred in Scotland in 1729, when “the never to be forgotten” (according
to Adam Smith) Francis Hutcheson started lecturing in Scottish rather than
in Latin. While considered a scandal, eventually all other professors in the
Western World started lecturing in the language of their students rather
than in Latin. One explanation for the resistance of teaching to change is
that instructors fail to apply the same scientic rigor to their teaching as
they do to their research. Professors as scientists and intellectuals typically
ask for proof when a colleague presents a scientic conclusion, yet when
it comes to what constitutes good teaching, professors often accept uncon-
tested folklore and mythology. Many of the recommendations made about
teaching, furthermore, are based more on stories and promising ideas than
on theory and conclusions from rigorous research. What is lacking is the
successful application of theory and research to instructional methods.
This article presents cooperative learning as one example of an in-
structional practice based on theory validated by research that has been
operationalized into instructional procedures. First, there is a rich the-
oretical base for cooperative learning in social interdependence theory.
The theoretical base allows cooperative learning to be dened, rened,
and continuously improved. From social interdependence theory and its
application to cooperative learning, the internal dynamics that make coop-
eration work have been identied. Faculty need to structure cooperative
lessons so that students are positively interdependent, are individually
accountable, promote each other’s success, appropriately use social skills,
and periodically process how they can improve the effectiveness of their
efforts. Understanding these basic elements allows precise cooperative
learning procedures to be engineered (that is, designed) and gives faculty
a set of tools for intervening in ineffective learning groups. It is these es-
Journal on Excellence in College Teaching114
sential elements that differentiate cooperative learning from other groups,
such as pseudo groups and traditional learning groups.
Second, there is considerable evidence (a) indicating that social inter-
dependence theory, which underlies cooperative learning, is valid and (b)
demonstrating that cooperative learning will work in university classes.
Over 305 research studies have been conducted on cooperation at the
university level. Cooperative learning is the instructional procedure of
choice whenever faculty wish to maximize student learning, ensure that
highly complex or difcult material is understood and mastered, and
maximize long-term retention. In addition, cooperative learning creates
positive interpersonal relationships characterized by personal and aca-
demic support and promotes greater psychological health and well-being
(including self-esteem and social competencies). It also creates positive
attitudes toward the university experience.
Third, social interdependence theory provides the basis on which to
dene cooperative learning and differentiate from other instructional
methods, such as competitive and individualistic learning. It gives guid-
ance for dening the instructor’s role in using (together or separately)
formal cooperative learning, informal cooperative learning, and cooper-
ative base groups.
Fourth, the use of cooperative learning groups creates certain opportu-
nities that do not exist when students work competitively or individually.
In cooperative groups, students can engage in discussions in which they
construct and extend conceptual understanding of what is being learned
and develop shared mental models of complex phenomena. Group
members can hold students accountable to learn, provide feedback on
how well they are doing, and give support and encouragement for fur-
ther attempts to learn. Students can observe the most outstanding group
members as behavioral models to be emulated. It is through discussions
in small groups that students acquire attitudes and values (such as the
need for continuous improvement). Finally, it is within cooperative groups
that students establish a shared identity as members of the university.
These, and many other opportunities, are lacking when students learn
competitively or individualistically.
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Journal on Excellence in College Teaching118
David W. Johnson is an emeritus professor of educational psychology at the Univer-
sity of Minnesota. He is co-director of the Cooperative Learning Center. He received his
doctoral degree from Columbia University. He has authored over 500 research articles
and book chapters. He is the author of over 50 books and a past editor of the American
Educational Research Journal. He held the Emma M. Birkmaier Professorship in
Educational Leadership at the University of Minnesota from 1994 to 1997. He has re-
ceived numerous awards from many different professional organizations. For the past 45
years, Dr. Johnson has served as an organizational consultant to schools and businesses
throughout the world. Roger T. Johnson is an emeritus professor of education at the
University of Minnesota and is co-director of the Cooperative Learning Center. He holds
his doctoral degree from the University of California in Berkeley. In 1965, Dr. Johnson
received an award for outstanding teaching from the Jefferson County Schools, and has
since been honored with numerous national awards. He was a curriculum developer
with the elementary science study at Harvard University. For three summers he taught
classes in the British primary schools at the University of Sussex. He has consulted with
schools throughout the world. Dr. Johnson is the author of numerous research articles,
book chapters, and books. Karl A. Smith is cooperative learning professor of engineering
education, School of Engineering Education, at Purdue University. He is also emeritus
professor of civil engineering, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor, executive
co-director of the STEM Education Center, and faculty member, Technological Leadership
Institute at the University of Minnesota. Karl consults with thousands of faculty all
over the world on pedagogies of engagement. His interests include building research and
innovation capabilities in engineering education; the role of cooperation in learning and
design, modeling, and knowledge engineering; and project and knowledge management
and leadership. He is a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and
past chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division.
... Једно од главних истраживачких питања у домену истраживања кооперативног учења односи се на ефекте кооперативног учења на ученичка постигнућа (Durukan, 2011;Gupta & Ahuja, 2014;Madhu & Jyoti, 2014;Pan & Wu, 2013;Shafqat & Rana, 2014;Stevens, 2003). Такође, међу истраживањима у овој области често се могу пронаћи и она истраживања која се баве ефектима кооперативног учења на интерперсоналне односе (Er & Ataç, 2014;Van Ryzin & Roseth, 2019) или ефектима кооперативног учења на психолошко здравље ученика (Buljubašić Kuzmanović, 2009;Er & Ataç, 2014;Johnson et al., 2014;Maden, 2011). У наведеним истраживањима, посматрајући њихов методолошки приступ истраживаној појави, запажамо да је у великој мери примењена управо квантитативна истраживачка метода која подразумева проверу теорија и хипотеза, уочавање узрочних веза, проучавање повезаности варијабли и регистровање разлика између скупина (Milas, 2009;Savićević, 1996;Smith & Zajda, 2018), а све то са циљем да се испитају ефекти кооперативног учења. ...
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