Co-operative Learning is one of the most highly researched educational innovations and has proven to be an effective learning strategy. It is a highly structured yet flexible approach to learning and teaching which involves problem-solving, learning through talk, positive interdependence, individual accountability and emphasis on both social and academic skills. Students work in small groups to complete a task, reflecting on the learning process, communicating ideas, building self-confidence and promoting a community atmosphere. The strategy seeks to prepare students for the interdependent nature of the world of work by allowing them the opportunity to develop the social skills and work ethic needed for the future.
In schools where large numbers of teachers have been trained, the results speak for themselves. Pupils and teachers are enthusiastic about how much more enjoyable learning has become, and both attainment and whole-school ethos have improved. HMIE have commented positively on the benefits of Co-operative Learning in school reports, and a great deal of interest is now being shown nationally. As well as fulfilling the purposes of education, the techniques also dovetail perfectly with other national initiatives such as Determined to Succeed, and Assessment is for Learning.
Co-operative Learning has been adopted by North Lanarkshire Council as a key aspect of its major Raising Achievement for All initiative, and as a means of working towards A Curriculum for Excellence.