Co-operative and collaborative learning

A photo three secondary boys working together on an experiment with wires and plastic

Our ideas about the role of talking in the classroom have changed radically over the years.

We no longer consider that a 'good' classroom is necessarily a quiet one; we understand that learning is frequently most effective when learners have the opportunity to think and talk together, to discuss ideas, question, analyse and solve problems, without the constant mediation of the teacher.

Most of our thinking has been heavily influenced by the work of Lev Vygotsky, and his concept of learning as a social process. In recent years, his ideas have been reflected in a number of learning and teaching approaches, including:

  • co-operative learning
  • critical skills
  • dialogic teaching.

Although these approaches vary to some extent, essentially they all promote the idea that young people's learning is best served when they have opportunities to learn with and from each other, and are shown how to do so effectively.

Sharing practice

Examples of collaborative and co-operative learning in practice.


Resources to support collaborative and co-operative learning.

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