“Cooperative Learning” – Connectivism and Social Learning in Practice

In this post I examine the instructional strategy “Cooperative Learning” to determine how it correlates with the principles of social learning theory and connectivism.

According to Orey (Laureate Education, Inc., 2001) social learning theory, or social constructivist learning theory, builds upon constructionist learning theory.  He explained that with social learning theory, the importance of context and culture in learning are highlighted.  He explained that with instructional strategies that support social learning theory, students not only build an artifact and construct their own meaning, both of which are important principles of constructionism, they do so in a social context – students work in small groups in which they discuss their work and learning with the other members of their group.  This dialog among group members helps each member’s understanding.

Connectivism also suggests that people learn in a social context (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2001).  It focuses on the importance of the learner’s sources of information in constructing knowledge, and that the creation and maintenance of connections with these sources of information are important for learning (Davis, Edmunds, & Kelly-Bateman, 2001).

Palmer, Peters, and Streetman (2001) described “Cooperative Learning,” as an instructional strategy that seeks to actively engage students in their learning.  They explained that it stresses that “both the individual and the social setting are active dynamics in the learning process.”  They explained that with “Cooperative Learning,” students work in small groups to both achieve a common goal and help each other learn the material: “Each individual team member is responsible for learning the material and also for helping the other members of the team learn.”  “Cooperative Learning” is thus closely correlated with both connectivism and social learning theory in that the learning takes place in a social context.

References

Davis, C., Edmunds, E., & Kelly-Bateman, V. (2001). Connectivism. In Orey, M. (Ed.). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2011). Program eight: Social learning theories [Video webcast]. Bridging learning theory, instruction and technology. Retrieved from http://laureate.ecollege.com/ec/crs/default.learn?CourseID=5700267&CPURL=laureate.ecollege.com&Survey=1&47=2594577& ClientNodeID=984650&coursenav=0&bhcp=1

Palmer, G., Peters, R., & Streetman, R. (2001). Cooperative Learning. In Orey, M. (Ed.). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/index.php?title=Main_Page

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