The focus in this chapter is on the broad class of structured group work characterized as cooperative learning defined as a structured, systematic instructional strategy in which small groups work together to produce a common product. The chapter describes many forms cooperative learning structures including ad hoc pairs of students working on short tasks, four-student groups working on more complex and time-consuming tasks, to team-based learning, a whole-course pedagogy in which semester-long fixed teams of five to seven students work on challenging application of the material under study to real-world cases. An important purpose of cooperative learning structures is to permit all students in the class to engage with new ideas in simultaneous conversation across a classroom, achieving a level of student practice and feedback that is impossible in instructor-centered classes. These student-student conversations, when structured in intentional ways, promote a variety of powerful learning strategies supported by learning sciences research.
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