I was asked by the Co-operative College: ‘what do I understand by the term co-operative learning?’ My response will sit alongside others in an introductory online course on co-operative education. Here’s my answer to the question.
Flipgrid video version: https://flipgrid.com/s/bd52e0344b99
As a developer I often work with University academics and usually talk about teaching and learning ‘solutions’ when questions like this come up. But here, it is more useful to talk about values rather than specific methods. Understanding co-operative values provides us with all the pointers we need to answer this question.
Co-operative learning is about creating a learning space based on:
- Self help
- Self responsibility
- Solidarity and mutual respect
It’s about having an honest and open learning environment.
The answer then is about how we learn together based on these values so that the outcomes of that way of learning and the experience we have are as important as the substantive knowledge that we are addressing.
For me, the learning environment is empathetic and conducive to the benefits of inclusive learning. It is about giving each other confidence, giving each other voice and finding a collective voice through negotiating and navigating a topic for mutual benefit.