There are plenty of benefits of using cooperative learning at workplace. As a rule cooperative learning makes learners be better organized, it improves discipline, behavior and attendance. It also influences comprehension, mutual understanding, social and educational orientation of the students, and usually cooperative learning is effective for advancing in thinking and creative activity. It is incredibly helpful for developing positive climate in the workrooms, and also cooperative learning is a very important instrument to improve ethnic and racial relations between the workers of the same group. Finally, strategy of cooperative learning is relatively easy to be implemented and does not require expenses.
But there are also some negative and controversial points related with putting into action of cooperative learning concept in business organizations. First of all, teachers are facing big problems with motivation and will of learners to work together. It can be especially effective for the kind of learning groups which have too different students, with very few common interests and viewpoints to share. Besides, many adult people may not recognize own responsibility and importance of teamwork, they may simply deny it thinking that they are good enough to study on their own, without help and support of their fellow workers.
Strategy of cooperative learning can be more effective for the managers of higher levels, but there also some obstacles. Many such employees are unsocial and have problems with opening their minds to collaboration and teamwork. Many high level managers are afraid of failures and losing their social position on front of other managers, so they may resist cooperative learning and try to work individually. Some high level learners do not like to be dependent on other teammates, especially if there are differences in level of academic achievements between them. Finally, teachers and instructors may not be enough prepared and experienced for successful implementation of cooperative learning strategy, they may not be able to control group tendencies and behavior.
That is why it is essential for effective use of cooperative learning concept in business organization and at workplace, first of all, to have qualified and experienced teaching personnel, who will manage to do their job excellent and with maximum efforts, to carry out the program successfully, to control teams’ interaction and behavior and keep it on proper level. Students must understand the benefits of collaborative education and accept this strategy as very effective and useful for their academic achievements and advancement.
Moreover, cooperative learning can be successfully used at any academic level: from elementary school to colleges, universities and business organizations. There are some examples of particular cooperative learning programs, which were developed and launched by teaching specialists of the USA. Team Accelerated Instruction (TAI) in Mathematic is a strategy for primary school children, which applies cooperative learning for improving knowledge in math and algebra. Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition is a concept, directed on developing of reading and writing skills of young students; it integrates the newest results of practical researches on the filed of cooperative learning.
There are a lot of cooperative learning programs, which were created for students of higher educational levels. One of the most known and popular is Roundtable, when a group of students discusses the problem together and everybody expresses the ideas or opinions in turn. The other method is Brainstorm, when a team combines the ideas of every member in order to come out with a new advanced solution. Such techniques as Focused Listening and Structured Problem Solving are the modifications of Brainstorm: they also mean generating all the ideas into one final outcome. There are a number of other concepts of cooperative learning, like Group Roles, Collaborative Annotations, Team Expectations, Value Line, Double Entry Journal, Send-A-Problem, etc, which are being used in schools and universities of the USA.
Cooperative learning is a brilliant opportunity for students of any academic level to improve some essential social life-skills and to develop the ability to work collaboratively. Numerous benefits and positive effects, which collaborative teamwork provides on the majority of important outcomes, make cooperative learning one of the most effective and valuable instruments of modern educational process.