Cooperative Learning vs Group Work
Group work and cooperative learning, even though, in both cases, a group is involved, concept wise there is some difference between them as they are different in their own ways. Group work can be defined as achieving a given task together whereas cooperative learning as a learning/teaching method that is pre-planned and structured. Even though, in both cases a group is involved, Cooperative learning differs itself from group work due to its strong focus on developing skills of participants individually and group wise. For instance, accountability of individuals in a group task when the individual concerned and positive interdependence when it comes to the skills of the group. As a result, cooperative learning also provides an education opportunity for its participants whereas group work is goal-oriented.
What is Cooperative Learning?
According to Johnson et al, there are five key elements that differentiate cooperative learning from simply putting students into groups to learn.They make cooperative learning a comprehensive learning experience. They are positive interdependence, individual accountability, face to face accountability, interpersonal and small group social skills and group processing. These elements focus on developing both individual and group skills in cooperative learning. As a result, it ensures each member’s responsibility for task achievement while promoting the group spirit with its focus on positive interdependence that prevents drawbacks like competition among the participants . Instead of competition, in this method everyone facilitates each other’s learning while successfully achieving the given task. Here, leadership is shared by all and attention is also given to be mindful and learn about how the group is processing that paves the way for better functio ning in similar tasks in the future. Cooperative learning may also give attention to activate diversity by including members with diverse ability and background into the group.
What is Group Work?
Group work is task-oriented. Completion of the given work is of prime importance than assuring the participants a comprehensive learning experience. As well, in traditional group work, equal opportunity through promotion of group spirit is not given attention. Most of the time, in group work, a group leader is appointed. Thus, there are only limited opportunity for other members to play leadership roles within the group. This affects the individual accountability of the group members negatively in group work due to the responsibility is centered on group leaders. Since, equal opportunities are not given it may pave the way for competition between group member. Traditional group work is not carefully planned or specific attention is not given for the formation of the group to assure a complete learning experience.
What is the difference between Cooperative Learning and Group Work?
• Cooperative learning focuses more on the learning experience for the participants while group work gives attention for task achievement.
• In cooperative learning, work is pre-planned and groups are carefully formed unlike in group work.
• A leader is in charge of group work while cooperative learning promotes individual accountability.
• Group work may pave the way for competition while cooperative learning promotes equal opportunity and learning for its participants.
Even though, group work provides the participants an opportunity to work in a group cooperative learning guarantees better individual, interpersonal and social skills for its participants.