7.7: Advantages and disadvantages of cooperative learning (2023)

  1. Last update
  2. Save as PDF
  • page id
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}}}\) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!- \!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{ span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{rango}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart }{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\ norma}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm {span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\ mathrm{nulo}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\rango}{\mathrm{rango}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{ \ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argumento}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{s pan}}\)\( \nuevocomando{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    Benefits of cooperative learning

    Ted Panitz (1996) lists more than 50 benefits provided by cooperative learning. These benefits can be summarized into four main categories: social, psychological, academic, and evaluative.

    Cooperative learning promotes social interactions; therefore, students benefit in many ways from a social perspective. By having students explain their reasoning and conclusions, cooperative learning helps develop oral communication skills. Due to the social interaction between students, cooperative learning can be used to model the appropriate social behaviors needed for work situations.

    By following the appropriate framework for cooperative learning, students can develop and practice skills that will be necessary to function in society and in the workplace. These skills include: leadership, decision making, trust building, communication, and conflict management.

    The cooperative environment also develops a social support system for students. Other students, the instructor, administrators, other school personnel, and potentially parents become integral parts of the learning process, thus providing students with multiple opportunities for support (Kessler & McCleod, 1985).

    Students also benefit psychologically from cooperative learning. Johnson and Johnson (1989) state that "cooperative learning experiences promote more positive attitudes" toward learning and instruction than other teaching methodologies. As students take an active role in the learning process in cooperative learning, student satisfaction with the learning experience increases.

    Cooperative learning also helps develop interpersonal relationships among students. The opportunity to discuss their ideas in smaller groups and receive constructive feedback on those ideas helps build students' self-esteem. In a lecture format, individual students are asked to answer a question in front of the whole class without having much time to think about their answer.

    Cooperative learning creates a safe and nurturing environment because solutions come from the group, not the individual. Errors in conclusions and thought processes are corrected within the group before being presented to the class.

    Students also tend to be inspired by instructors who take the time to plan activities that foster a supportive environment (Janke, 1980). Receiving encouragement in a cooperative environment from both the instructor and peers helps develop greater self-efficacy (see the Motivation chapter). As a result of increased self-efficacy, students' grades tend to rise; therefore, cooperative learning methods provide many academic benefits to students.

    Research indicates that students taught using cooperative methods learned and retained significantly more information than students taught using other methods. Asking students to verbalize their ideas to the group helps them develop clearer concepts; thus, the thought process is completely embedded in the memory of the students. Vygotsky supports this concept in his research on egocentric speech by stating that verbalization plays an important role in solving tasks (Bershon, 1992).

    (Video) Cooperative Learning

    Group discussions lead to more frequent syntheses because students are constantly explaining and elaborating, which in turn validates and strengthens thoughts. Students also benefit academically from cooperative learning, in the sense that there is greater potential for success when students work in groups. Individuals tend to give up when they get stuck, whereas a group of students is more likely to find a way to keep going (Johnson & Johnson, 1990).

    Cooperative learning requires student self-management because they must come prepared with completed assignments and must understand the material they have compiled. As a result, a more complete understanding of the material is developed.

    There are also many benefits of cooperative learning on the assessment side. It provides instant feedback to the students and the instructor because the effectiveness of each lesson can be observed. As instructors move around the room and watch each group of students interact and explain their theories, they can catch misconceptions early enough to correct them. A few minutes of observation during each class session can provide useful information about students' abilities and growth.

    Cooperative teaching methods also use a variety of assessments. Grades are not only based on individual tests and assignments that only allow for correct or incorrect answers, leaving little or no room for reflection and discussion of errors or misunderstandings. With cooperative learning, instructors can use more authentic assessments such as observation, peer review, and written reflections.

    Benefits of Cooperative Learning at Ms. Salomón

    as Ms. Solomon learns all the benefits of using cooperative learning, her curiosity is piqued; however, she still wonders if her complex class could overcome all the barriers that impede the learning environment. However, there is evidence that most of the problems experienced in her class could be solved through cooperative learning.

    low attendance– In addition to the four main categories of benefits detailed above, schools using this strategy report increased student attendance because students feel they are a valuable and necessary part of their groups (McBrien & Brandt, 1997).

    Classroom interruptions.– Students are less likely to act in a cooperative setting. Students act to get attention; however, the “stage” is eliminated in a cooperative setting because it is very difficult to get the attention of the whole class when students are divided into smaller groups (Stahl & Van Sickle, 1992). As a result, students are more likely to stay on task and less likely to interrupt. Cooperative learning also helps reduce classroom disruptions because students can socialize during the learning process. Students need interaction with their peers, and without integration of interaction with students, the need for social contact arises in a negative context.

    Violence– According to Johnson and Johnson (1990), cooperative learning also helps to reduce violence. If applied correctly, cooperative activities model nonviolent solutions to problems. Because group consensus is promoted, guilt is eliminated and honor, friendship and quality are promoted.

    Diversity among students– Research shows that cooperative learning also develops awareness of diversity among students. Encourage students to use their differences to help each other. Because students are in a situation where they can interact with peers they would otherwise never socialize with, behaviors that may seem strange in other settings become understandable when students are given the opportunity to explain and defend your reasoning.

    (Video) 18 Collaborative and Cooperative Learning Techniques

    In a traditional classroom, there are very few opportunities for students to defend their points of view. As students observe each other's thought processes, there is more room to understand and appreciate their differences (Johnson & Johnson, 1990). As a result, a much deeper understanding of cultural and individual difference develops (Yager, 1985).

    Furthermore, because students are placed in a supportive environment where group processing skills are essential, they are more likely to accept these differences than in a non-interactive, competitive environment. This greater understanding of their differences also helps students learn to solve social problems that may arise (Johnson & Johnson, 1990).

    Students with special needs– Cooperative methods are flexible and can be easily adapted for students with special needs. For the reasons mentioned above, this type of learning environment allows for better social acceptance of regular students with learning difficulties (Slavin, 1990).

    ESL students– Cooperative learning is especially useful in courses where interactions involving the use of language are important, such as ESL courses. It is an ideal way to "facilitate the acquisition of language and practice the habits of debate and discussion that occur in the classroom" (Brufee, 1993). Research conducted using cooperative learning in classes with ESL students shows a significant improvement in the acquisition of English language skills.

    Cooperative learning helps students learn the language better than the exercise and practice of traditional language learning. It appears that peer interaction in natural settings is the optimal language use needed to successfully acquire second language skills (Neves, 1983). In addition, most educational psychology textbooks now contain “extensive discussions of cooperative pedagogy and its effectiveness in relation to improving race relations, self-esteem, and internal locus of control” (Sherman, 1991).

    discussions between students– Marzano (1992) states that in a cooperative environment, students can analyze the effects of groups and "suggest activities that promote positive interactions or address conflicts or personality problems within each group." It provides a supportive environment to manage conflict resolution (Johnson & Johnson, 1990).

    disrespect to the instructor– In the cooperative classroom, instructors have more opportunities to explain policies and procedures. When the instructor's expectations are clear, there seems to be less room for personal interpretation, which often leads to a negative attitude toward the instructor. The class could also potentially be able to contribute to the development and implementation of classroom rules and procedures. This classroom management technique, when combined with cooperative activities, could help students overcome resentments generated by the teacher-centered classroom.

    Differences in learning abilities.– Performance improves among weaker students when grouped with higher-achieving students because stronger students model successful reasoning processes. Students who often struggle academically can learn to prepare for tests, review and correct homework, and see alternative solutions to problems. Vygotsky (1978) hypothesizes that social interaction between students widens students' zone of proximal development (the difference between a student's understanding and her potential understanding).

    When students work cooperatively in groups, more experienced students can help less experienced students understand new concepts. High achievers also benefit from verbalizing their ideas and actually teaching others. As mentioned above, the process of verbalizing thoughts helps further promote understanding of the material.

    Cooperative learning also accommodates learning style differences among students because they use each of the three main learning styles: kinesthetic, auditory, and visual. The material presented by the instructor is auditory and visual, and students working together use kinesthetic skills by working through hands-on activities. Discussing topics within groups further enhances verbal skills, and presenting the group's findings in class helps reinforce visual and listening skills (Midkiff & Thomasson, 1993).

    (Video) Advantages and Disadvantages of Waste Incineration | WELS (Waterpedia Environmental Learning Series)

    Disadvantages of cooperative learning

    Instructors who are unfamiliar with cooperative learning may not initially accept this learning style because they may feel they will lose control of their classroom, or may not be sure of the techniques used, or possibly even think it is too time consuming. In the next section, we will discuss some of the possible disadvantages of cooperative learning.

    Lost of control– Cooperative learning is a structured approach that requires the support and guidance of the instructor. For cooperative learning to be used in the classroom, instructors must be trained to be proficient in implementing the techniques. Maximum learning will only be achieved if the instructor receives the proper training and then it is transferred to the student.

    Teachers may resist using cooperative learning techniques in the classroom because they fear losing control of their teaching routine. Cooperative learning takes time to implement; therefore, initial classes may take longer. Once the students and instructor are comfortable with the process, the amount of time for each lesson decreases.

    Instructors may find it difficult to relinquish control of the content being covered (Panitz). They are used to presenting the curriculum to students and not giving them the freedom to learn for themselves. Students learning only part of the curriculum in their group can make an instructor anxious about what their students know.

    Showcasing your expertise in a subject area is important to some instructors. Forgoing the opportunity to display this knowledge can prevent instructors from using cooperative learning in their classrooms. Also, if students are expected to explore on their own, they may have questions that the instructor cannot answer. Both possibilities can cause an instructor to lose confidence in her teaching abilities. Instructors may still be experts, but they will use their knowledge as facilitators rather than information providers.

    Teamwork– Depending on the age group, students may be resistant to using cooperative learning in their classrooms. The lecture does not require much interaction and participation from the students; therefore, they can get as much or as little out of the class as they want. Having to work in groups can irritate some students because they are now being asked to participate and contribute to their learning. In addition, they are also invited to learn new concepts and are taught to work in groups. They may not be used to working in groups and therefore may not be sure of the dynamics involved in working in groups.

    Since cooperative learning focuses on group work, students may worry that other members of the group will lower their grades. This is especially true if students are grouped by mixed ability, which requires higher ability students to guide lower ability students.

    Deciding how groups should be formed is an important part of the cooperative learning planning process. There has been some debate about how groups should be formed in order for students to work together effectively and reach their full potential.

    Mixed ability grouping allows all members of the group to participate, although the type of participation differs. Advanced students can teach struggling students, but concerns are raised about advanced students doing all the work and struggling students not being motivated to get involved. There is also concern that gifted students will be left behind by less able students in their cohort.

    (Video) What is...Jigsaw Method?

    If students are grouped with others of the same ability level, the lower ability group may become frustrated and unmotivated to try. This is also true for those who are grouped by gender or race because it can support stereotypes that certain areas of study are dominated by certain groups.

    There are also mixed opinions about the ideal number of people to form small groups. The consensus seems to agree that no more than 4 people in a group produces higher performance (Slavin, 1987). Fixed seating and large classes can make group organization difficult. Still, even though the room is easily organized into small groups, instructors may struggle to access all of the numerous small groups.

    Most students are not used to working in groups, especially in high school classrooms. Students will need to be taught how to work effectively in a group setting. Resolving group conflicts can be quite challenging for instructors. Groups should ensure that all members listen to and appreciate the contribution of each member of the group. Identifying responsibilities within the group and encouraging everyone to do their best work should be addressed before group work begins. Additionally, students who work best alone may have a difficult time succeeding in a group setting.

    As the classroom will be made up of many small groups, the noise level will increase. This can be very uncomfortable for some instructors, especially if they are used to a sit-and-read class. This can also cause problems for students who have attention issues.

    Cooperative learning is based on social interaction; therefore, grouping students together to work independently, even for a short period of time, can encourage distractive behavior. As the instructor circulates around the room to observe and interact with the groups, it is difficult to ensure that each group is working productively on their task. Self-management skills should be introduced before students are divided into groups and reinforced as they go through their work.

    time requirements– With cooperative learning, the textbook is used only as an educational supplement, requiring instructors to create additional materials for students. These materials are typically built from scratch because many instructor manuals offer limited suggestions for group activities. Creating these new materials can take a long time. Therefore, instructors not only spend a lot of time implementing this new way of learning, they also have to create the accompanying materials.

    As the students need to generate an answer or information within their group, the work time can be longer than the traditional class. Due to this additional time, instructors may not be able to cover the same amount of curriculum as before using teacher-led class discussions. Often in a traditional classroom, the quality of work is compromised to teach the entire curriculum.

    Vague goals, avoidance of teaching, and lack of critical thinking activities are other problems associated with cooperative learning. With a focus on group management, instructors may miss student goals and assignments. Therefore, students do not receive the guidance they need to effectively learn the task at hand. Some critics say that instructors who rely on working in small groups are avoiding their teaching responsibilities. Students are left to teach themselves the curriculum. Also, because students work in smaller groups that require more time, instructors may be more apt to assign tasks that do not require higher-level thinking skills. Quality is neglected to increase the quantity of work.

    Other disadvantages– Because students are working together on a group task, it is difficult to assess students with a pencil and paper test. Instructors will have to find another way to assess student work and progress. Because students are used to concrete assessments, it can be difficult for them to adjust to authentic assessments.


    1. L4M6 LO3 Revision Tips
    (Procurement Study Buddy)
    2. What is Blended Learning | Blended Learning Models | Advantages & Disadvantages | Hybrid Learning
    3. Total Concept of "Cooperative Organization" in BOM Subject
    (Devika's Commerce & Management Academy)
    4. Database vs Spreadsheet - Advantages and Disadvantages
    (365 Data Science)
    5. #Advantagesoflearnerorientedcurriculum#Learnwithconcept#ByArchanaVishwakarma#B.Eddailymission2020.
    (Archana Vishwakarma)
    6. "Advantages & Disadvantage of Partnership" In BOM Subject
    (Devika's Commerce & Management Academy)
    Top Articles
    Latest Posts
    Article information

    Author: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

    Last Updated: 01/16/2023

    Views: 6420

    Rating: 5 / 5 (50 voted)

    Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

    Author information

    Name: The Hon. Margery Christiansen

    Birthday: 2000-07-07

    Address: 5050 Breitenberg Knoll, New Robert, MI 45409

    Phone: +2556892639372

    Job: Investor Mining Engineer

    Hobby: Sketching, Cosplaying, Glassblowing, Genealogy, Crocheting, Archery, Skateboarding

    Introduction: My name is The Hon. Margery Christiansen, I am a bright, adorable, precious, inexpensive, gorgeous, comfortable, happy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.