You are on page 1of 26



















Collaborative learning is a personal philosophy ,not just a classroom

Collaborative learning is an umbrella term for a variety of educational
approaches involving joint effort by learners. Collaborative learning activities
vary widely, but most centre on the learners exploration or application of the
curriculum, not simply on the teachers presentation of it. The teachers role is
to create an environment where young people are willing and able to work
collaboratively, where there are plenty of opportunities and stimulating
contexts for learners to work with others, and where they feel safe to share
their emerging ideas and understandings.
Usually, learners are working in groups of two or more, searching mutually for
understanding, solutions, meanings, or creating a product. Group challenges
often require learners to produce a product for a specified audience and
purpose. Collaborative learning programmes also place great emphasis on
assessing the contribution of individuals within the group and of the
performance of the team.
In collaborative learning situations, pupils are not simply taking in new
information or ideas - they are creating something new with the information
and ideas.
Collaborative learning is a situation in which two or more people
learn or attempt to learn something together. Unlike individual learning,
people engaged in collaborative learning capitalize on one anothers resources
and skills . More specifically, collaborative learning is based on the model that
knowledge can be created within a population where members actively
interact by sharing experiences and take on asymmetry roles. Put differently,
collaborative learning refers to methodologies and environments in which
learners engage in a common task where each individual depends on and is
accountable to each other. These include both face-to-face conversations and
computer discussions Methods for examining collaborative learning processes
include conversation analysis and statistical discourse analysis.
Collaborative learning is heavily rooted in Vygotskys views that there
exists an inherent social nature of learning which is shown through his theory
of zone of proximal development. Often, collaborative learning is used as an
umbrella term for a variety of approaches in education that involve joint
intellectual effort by students or students and teachers. Thus, collaborative
learning is commonly illustrated when groups of students work together to
search for understanding, meaning, or solutions or to create an artifact or
product of their learning. Further, collaborative learning redefines traditional
student-teacher relationship in the classroom which results in controversy over
whether this paradigm is more beneficial than harmful. Collaborative learning
activities can include collaborative writing, group projects, joint problem
solving, debates, study teams, and other activities. The approach is closely
related to cooperative learning.
Alternatively, collaborative learning occurs when individuals are
actively engaged in a community in which learning takes place through explicit
or implicit collaborative efforts. Collaborative learning has often been
portrayed as solely a cognitive process by which adults participate as
facilitators of knowledge and children as receivers. However, Indigenous
communities of the Americas illustrate that collaborative learning occurs
because individual participation in learning occurs on a horizontal plane where
children and adults are equal. Thus collaborative learning also occurs when
children and adults in engage play, work, and other activities together.


Working together results in a greater understanding than would likely
have occurred if one had worked independently.
Spoken and written interactions contribute to this increased
Opportunity exists to become aware, through classroom experiences, of
relationships between social interactions and increased understanding,
Some elements of this increased understanding are unpredictable.
Participation is voluntary and must be freely entered into.


Cooperative learning involves students learning from each other in
groups. But it is not the group configuration that makes cooperative learning
distinctive; it is the way that students and teachers work together that is
important. In Cooperative learning, teachers teach students collaborative or
social skills so that they can work together more effectively- Larsen-Freeman
& Anderson
Co-operative learning is defined as "Instructional methods and techniques in
which pupils work in small groups (4-6) and are rewarded in some way for the
performance as a group". Co-operative learning enhances students' academic,
management and social skills.
Cooperative learning is more than just group work. A key difference between
cooperative learning and traditional group work is in the latter, students are
asked to work in groups without attention to group functioning, whereas in
cooperative learning, group work is carefully prepared, planned, and
monitored. Positive interactions do not always occur naturally, and social skills
instruction must precede and concur with the cooperative learning strategies.
Cooperative learning is closely related to Collaborative learning, a situation in
which two or more students learn a concept together.

Below is an image of children demonstrating Cooperative learning, each
bubble explains why Cooperative learning is so important in helping students
obtain critical thinking skills.

Below is an image of John Dewey, Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget, along with
their contributions to Cooperative learning.


Uses small groups of four or five students(microgroups)
Focuses on tasks to be accomplished
Requires group co-operation and interaction
Mandates individual responsibility to learn
Supports division of labour
Improvement of comprehension of basic academic content
Reinforcement of academic skills
Student of decision making allowed
Creation of active learning environment
Boosted students' self-esteem
Celebration of diverse learning styles
Promotion of student responsibility
Focus on success of everyone
Brown & Ciuffetelli Parker (2009) and Siltala (2010) discuss the 5 basic and
essential elements to cooperative learning.
1. Positive interdependence
1. Students must fully participate and put forth effort within their
2. Each group member has a task/role/responsibility therefore must
believe that they are responsible for their learning and that of
their group
2. Face-to-face promotive interaction
1. Members promote each other's success
2. Students explain to one another what they have or are learning
and assist one another with understanding and completion of
3. Individual and group accountability
1. Each student must demonstrate mastery of the content being
2. Each student is accountable for their learning and work, therefore
eliminating social loafing
4. Social skills
1. Social skills that must be taught in order for successful cooperative
learning to occur
2. Skills include effective communication, interpersonal and group
1. Leadership
2. Decision-making
3. Trust-building
4. Communication
5. Conflict-management skills
5. Group processing
1. Every so often groups must assess their effectiveness and decide
how it can be improved

In order for student achievement to improve considerably, two
characteristics must be present.
1. When designing cooperative learning tasks and reward structures,
individual responsibility and accountability must be identified.
Individuals must know exactly what their responsibilities are and that
they are accountable to the group in order to reach their goal.
2. All group members must be involved in order for the group to complete
the task. In order for this to occur each member must have a task that
they are responsible for which cannot be completed by any other group


The jigsaw technique was developed and named in 1971 at the
University of Texas, Austin by Elliot Aronson as a way for students in recently
desegregated schools in Austin to interact in the classroom in a way that would
reduce suspicion and distrust. Aronson has since written widely on the jigsaw
technique, focusing on the benefits of jigsaw for reducing hateful behavior and
increasing cooperation in the classroom. Since the 1970s, other educators have
adopted and adapted jigsaw for use in a wide variety of classroom, lab, and
field situations at all levels from grade school to graduate education. The
benefits of the technique clearly extend beyond more positive student
The Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that encourages
people to develop their own understanding and then share knowledge with
the group. Working groups are each assigned a particular part of a problem, or
puzzle piece, and the tools to develop knowledge on that specific component.
The pieces are then put together using visual materials and facilitation

In cooperative learning, students work with their peers to accomplish a
shared or common goal, and jigsaw is one type of cooperative learning
structure. Research over the past several decades shows overwhelmingly that
well-structured cooperative learning is beneficial for students in terms of
engagement, achievement, and enjoyment. The Pedagogy in Action Module on
Cooperative Learning has an excellent summary of research results on the
value of cooperative learning in general.
This technique can be used equally well for assignments
involving data analysis or field work and in assignments involving reading.

Prepare several different, related assignments for the class. In the
pictorial example at right, the instructor devised four assignments, one
for each of four teams. Each team then prepares one of the assignments.
Once each team is prepared, the class in the pictorial example at right is
divided into four new groups. Each group will have one team member
from each of the teams. Each member of the group is responsible for
teaching the rest of the group what he/she has learned from his/her
team assignment.
The group then puts all of the pieces together and completes a group
task that can only be answered once all of the team pieces are together
(hence the name "jigsaw"). This latter part is crucial to the technique.
Students are divided into teams of 3-4 and look at a particular group
of thin sections or samples. Once each team is done with its study, mixed
groups form, and team members share what they have learned about their
samples/sections. Groups then consider the implications of similarities
and/or differences. The advantages of this strategy are two-fold: 1) few of
us have enough multiple thin sections for all students to easily look at
identical thin sections and 2) looking in detail at a few thin sections/samples
and in general at a number of others gives students both the practice in
detailed analysis and the experience of seeing the variability between thin
sections/samples without requiring them to see all of in excruciating detail.


Students are directly engaged with the material, instead of having
material presented to them, which fosters depth of understanding.
Students gain practice in self-teaching, which is one of the most valuable
skills we can help them learn.
Students gain practice in peer teaching, which requires them to
understand the material at a deeper level than students typically do
when simply asked to produce on an exam.

During a jigsaw, students speak the language of the discipline and
become more fluent in the use of discipline-based terminology.
Each student develops an expertise and has something important to
contribute to the group.
Each student also has a chance to contribute meaningfully to a
discussion, something that is more difficult to achieve in large-group
The group task that follows individual peer teaching promotes
discussion, problem-solving, and learning.
Jigsaw encourages cooperation and active learning and promotes
valuing all students' contributions.
Jigsaw can be an efficient cooperative learning strategy. Although the
jigsaw assignment takes time in class, the instructor does not need to
spend as much time lecturing about the topic. If planned well, the
overall time commitment to using the jigsaw technique during class can
be comparable to lecturing about a topic.

The use of a circle as both the organizational structure and
descriptive metaphor for a meeting of equals is likely to have been a part of
our history for as long as fire has. The learning circle is a mechanism for
organizing and honoring the collective wisdom of the group and is present in
many indigenous cultures. For example, in early native councils of elders came
together to understand problems in a spirit of shared community in wisdom
circles. The term Learning Circle has been used to describe group efforts with
clear links to social change . Over time and across countries, civic
organizations, neighborhood communities, trade unions, churches and social
justice groups have used the idea of learning circles to empower their
members to make choices and take action. The web can help locate the many
ways both present and past that groups have used the term Study circle or
Learning Circle as a form of adult and student education. For example,
Educators for Community Engagement, find that learning circleswith their
principles of equal participation, reciprocity, and honoring of collective wisdom
-embody the democratic principles of effective service-learning partnerships.
They use learning circles, rather than more traditional forms of group
meetings, to structure their annual conferences. Primary teachers use a simple
form of learning circles when they gather the students at the rug for "circle
time." However many educators are using learning circles to connect students
from around the world. Among the goals of this activity are helping students to
develop the trust and respect for diversity of experience, and fostering both
listening and speaking skills among peers. Researchers have used learning
circles as a form of professional development to improve their practice. A
similar term, "Quality circle" was used in the 80's to characterize the successful
practice in corporate settings in which the hierarchical boundaries between
workers and managers are flattened to encourage participatory management
and team leadership. Quality circles, originally associated with Japanese
management and manufacturing techniques developed in Japan after world
war II, based on lectures of W. Edwards Deming . The goal was to encourage
everyone to develop a strong sense of ownership over the process and
products of the group.

The Circle of Learning is a framework that identifies five modes of
learning and illustrates an ongoing process of achieving competence. We
believe that our full range of educational products and solutions will help build
competence in an effective manner.
1. Knowledge Acquisition: the process of acquiring knowledge through
resources such as textbooks, charts, anatomical models.

2. Skills Proficiency: to develop psychomotor skills through repetitive
practice with task trainers and manikins to master practical procedures.

3. Computer Simulation: is the use of computer programs that provide
intelligent feedback over a range of difficulty to develop decision-making
and critical-thinking skills that increase educational efficiency.

4. Simulation in Teams: is group practice of realistic scenarios to improve
teamwork, leadership and communication. Using simulation a wide
variety of clinical conditions can be simulated in controlled environments
to produce standardized experiences.

5. Clinical Experience: is learning through reflecting on the treatment of
real patients, personal tuition, and the exchange of knowledge with
Models of Learning Circles
Learning Circles have been used for centuries with students and adults
in many different contexts. Two models are described here but others may
Model 1: OpenAgile Learning Circle
OpenAgile is an agile system of project and team management. In the
OpenAgile system, the Learning Circle "is a simple and practical model of
effective learning". The Learning Circle was adapted by Garry Bertieg from a
development model in the "Building Momentum" document issued by the
Baha'i World Center around 2003. The Learning Circle is one of OpenAgile's
three foundations, alongside Truthfulness and Consultative Decision-making.
This model describes learning as a series of four steps, four capacities for us to
develop, and the pivotal importance of Guidance.
The Four Steps
The four steps in the Learning Circle are Reflection, Learning, Planning, and
Action, and are followed one after another, over and over. It is possible to
begin an endeavour with any of the four steps. The diagram below shows the
Learning Circle Model:
Reflection - The Reflection step is a pause in our activities where we
gather data, impressions, history, stories, and any other observations
about what we have done. In order to do this effectively, we must
develop and exercise the capacity for Detachment detachment from
preconceived notions.
Learning - In the Learning step we carefully examine the observations
made in the Reflection step and "discover" new insights, skills,
relationships, structures, failures or any other conceptual changes. We
search for the principles involved in our work. In order to do this
effectively, we must develop and exercise the capacity of Search
search for the underlying principles.
Planning - In the Planning Step we apply the conceptual understandings
we have developed. We use these newly discovered principles to
systematically to create a plan of action. We should directly reflect in
our planning each insight or principle we have learned. In order to do
this step effectively, we must develop and exercise the capacity for Love
love for the act of learning.
Action - In the Action Step, as an individual, team, or organization we
carry out the plans we have created. We do our work. In order to do this
effectively, we must have Courage courage to plunge into the
The Four Capacities
Each of the four capacities in the Learning Circle are prerequisites for
taking the next step. At the same time, as we exercise these capacities through
the use of the Learning Circle, we develop these capacities within ourselves, in
our teams and in our organizations. Our inner conditions and capabilities have
an effect on our environment which in turn then has an effect on us. By going
through the Learning Circle, we use and develop these four capacities:
Detachment- The capacity for Detachment supports the Reflection step.
Detachment is openness. Detachment means that we set aside our ego
and objectively look at the evidence including facts, events and feelings.
Search- The capacity for Search supports the Learning step. Search
includes consultation, wisdom, discernment, judgment, and search for
Love of the Work - The capacity for Love of the learning supports the
Planning step. Love creates openness to Guidance. Love engenders
vision, passion, and a sense of purpose.
Courage -The capacity for Courage supports the Action step. Courage
encompasses conscious choice, volition, willingness, and desire to act
even in the face of uncertainty.
Guidance - Central to the effectiveness of the Learning Circle is
Guidance is the act of assisting an individual, team, or organization to
reach a destination by accompanying, giving directions, or supplying with them
advice. Guidance plays a pivotal role in developing our capacity and can be
applied to all four steps and all four capacities. For individuals, teams, and
organizations, Guidance is critical to be able to progress in the development of
knowledge, skills or capacities. Guidance can come from within - a team
member who has expertise can share it with the other team members. And
Guidance can come from outside - we can bring experts into the organization,
we can read books or web sites. Inspiration can also be thought of as a form of
Guidance, for example a team member suddenly has a bright idea. Being open
to receiving Guidance ensures that the Learning Circle is both organic and
Model 2: Distributed Leadership and Collaboration in Online Learning Circles
In this model, Learning circles are described as a structure or distributed
"A learning circle is a
learning contexts Riel, 2010 leadership in collaborative
highly interactive, participatory structure for organizing group work. The goal is
to build, share, and express knowledge though a process of open dialogue and
deep reflection around issues or problems with a focus on a shared outcome."
This model is described by a
(1) set of defining dimensions
(2) norms that support the interaction
(3) the phase structure that guides the process.
Many of these features also describe learning circles in face to face settings.

Learning Circle Model of Distributed Leadership and Cognition
Phases of Learning Circles
Getting Ready
Opening the Circles:
Defining the Set of Projects:
Working on the Projects:
Sharing the Outcomes:
Closing the circle:


The result of all our hard work is our Learning Management Programme

1. Akdemir, E., & Arslan, A. (2012). From past to present: Trend analysis of
cooperative learning studies. Procedia, Social and Behavioral Sciences,
(55), 212-217.
2. Al-Yaseen, W. S. (2011). Expectations of a group of primary school teachers
trained on cooperative learning on the possibility of
successful implementations. Education, 132(2), 273-284.
3. Asoodeh, M. H., Asoodeh, M. B., & Zarepour, M. (2012). The impact of
student-centered learning on academic achievement and social skills. Procedia,
Social and Behavioral Sciences, (46), 560-564.
4. Flynn, P., Mesibov, D., Vermette, P. J., & Smith, R. M. (2004). Applying
standards-based constructivism: A two step guide for motivating middle and
high school students. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
5. Gillies, R., & Ashman, A. (2003). Cooperative learning: The social and
intellectual outcomes of learning in groups. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
6.Larsen-Freeman, D., & Anderson, M. (2011). Techniques & principles in
language teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press
7.Science Education : Dr.K. Sivarajan ,Prof . A . Faziluddin