What Is Cooperative Learning, and Why Is it Important?


  1. What is cooperative learning?
  2. Why is cooperative learning important?
  3. What are the 5 elements of cooperative learning?
  4. What is an example of cooperative learning?
  5. How can cooperative learning strategies support academic and social development?


Teachers and educators use a range of different teaching strategies to help the children in their classrooms learn. As a parent, you may have heard the term ‘cooperative learning’ in passing, but you may not know much about this educational technique. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what cooperative learning is, and why it’s important for your children’s learning. girls learning together

What is cooperative learning? 


Cooperative learning is an educational approach that focuses on putting students together in groups and setting tasks so they can help each other learn. Cooperative learning is all about group work and usually involves breaking a classroom of pupils into smaller groups with the aim of developing their understanding of a concept together. 

Cooperative learning has been recognised as a powerful and effective teaching strategy. The reason this teaching method works well for most children is because the kids can learn from each other, fill in any knowledge gaps and put their minds together to complete the tasks they’ve been set. Cooperative learning is being incorporated in the teaching strategy at a wide range of schools and institutions in the UK, from private schools to grammar schools

Cooperative learning is a great way for kids to learn about a new concept or topic. Not only that but cooperative learning can also build social skills in children, improve their communication and critical thinking skills and foster important friendships for school kids. ✔️


Why is cooperative learning important?


Cooperative learning is important because it is an effective way for most kids to learn and develop their understanding of a concept. However, the benefits don’t stop there  – it also helps children build a range of important communication and social skills. ☝️

Whether your child is in primary school and focused on learning the basics of a new concept, or a teen trying to tackle some of the most difficult A-level subjects, cooperative learning can be helpful for them as they try to reach their goals. For teachers, keeping primary school kids entertained and focused on the lesson can be tricky, and secondary school pupils may lose interest when they’re bored – so breaking the session up with cooperative learning techniques is a great way to improve engagement in the classroom. 

Cooperative learning activities are designed to engage all the pupils in a classroom and make them active participants in their own learning  – and they could help your child get better grades. Another way to improve your kids’ grades would be to enlist the help of one of our experienced tutors


What are the 5 elements of cooperative learning?


Generally, cooperative learning has 5 important basic elements. They are as follows: 

  1. Positive interdependence
  2. Individual and group accountability  
  3. Promotive interactions
  4. Developing the required interpersonal and small group skills
  5. Group processing 

The first and most important element for cooperative learning is positive interdependence, which relates to each member of the group understanding that they must work together to achieve the goal. If one member fails to do their part, the whole group will struggle – so the individual members of the group must realise that their efforts benefit the group as a whole. 🤝

The second essential component is individual and group accountability – the group must be held accountable for achieving the set objectives. This helps maintain individual student responsibility and appropriate behaviour during the session, and each pupil must understand that they need to contribute their part of the work in order to help the group succeed. 

The third necessary element of cooperative learning is promotive interactions, which should ideally be face to face. These interactions involve the students listening to each other, teaching each other, making decisions as a group and understanding personal responsibilities as well as learning how to give and receive feedback in a positive way. 

The fourth essential element is the students learning the required interpersonal and small group skills needed to complete the task or objective. In order for cooperative learning to be successful, pupils must develop social skills relating to communicating effectively, shared decision making, and conflict management. 

The final essential component to cooperative learning is group processing. It’s integral to allow time for the group to consider how well the goal was achieved, and whether the group members were able to maintain an effective working relationship throughout. This is a chance for the pupils to debrief and identify any issues they faced. 


What is an example of cooperative learning?


There are many strategies for incorporating cooperative learning techniques in the classroom and at home. 

Here are some examples of cooperative teaching strategies: 


Think-Pair-Share is also known as Turn & Talk, and it’s a simple and effective technique used by many teachers around the world. The teacher will pose a question to the group, and each pupil will have a few minutes to think it over independently. Afterwards, the students will turn to someone next to them and discuss their thoughts. Finally, they’ll share with the rest of the class. 

This is a helpful learning strategy because it’s quick and easy to do, and a fantastic way to break up a learning session and make it more dynamic. It requires each student to engage with the topic through independent thinking and vocalising their ideas together. 💬


This strategy involves students being put into “home groups” and “expert groups”. Each student is given one section or aspect of a wider topic to research with their expert group before they all return to their home groups and teach what they’ve found to the rest of the students. All the individual topics will come together to give them a fuller understanding of the main topic at hand. 

This is a useful technique because it’s very collaborative, giving each student responsibility for their own learning and that of their home groups. 

Round Robin 

Divided into groups of 3-4, pupils will be given a question to answer or a problem to solve. The task will be carefully chosen so that there is more than one way to solve it and several discussion points. In their groups, the students will work together to share their thoughts and ideas, eventually coming up with an answer they’re all happy with. 

This is a very effective strategy for getting pupils engaged in the topic at hand, giving them the chance to work together and collaborate in order to solve the problem. 


How can cooperative learning strategies support academic and social development?


Cooperative learning strategies are internationally recognised as useful in supporting both academic achievement and social development in schoolchildren. 

Kids and teens are being introduced to new concepts and topics constantly, and as human beings, we don’t all learn in the same way, at the same speed. That’s why working in a group can be beneficial for kids – they can figure things out together and help each other along in their learning journey. There’s no doubt that lots of children have plenty to teach their peers – some kids even deliver fantastic TED Talks sharing their knowledge and insight!

Whether it’s learning to code or learning to speak German and everything in between, kids can struggle to get to grips with new concepts and subjects in the traditional classroom structure. Incorporating cooperative learning can help their learning journey, making them more engaged and willing to learn.

It can also give kids practical experience that may help them retain the information they’re learning better. It can encourage kids to work together on whatever they’re working on – after all, putting their minds together usually means children can find creative solutions to problems or pool their knowledge. 

If you’re concerned that your child may not be responding well to the learning techniques and strategies used by their teachers, it’s a great idea to communicate with the school to find a solution. 

At GoStudent, we’re all about interactive and dynamic teaching methods that encourage kids to engage in their own learning. Our friendly and experienced tutors cover all levels and subjects, and are focused on making learning fun – so if you’d like to try online tutoring for your child, book a free trial session today! 🚀