Cooperative Learning Reflection: Virtual Connections Post-COVID
Keywords:cooperative learning, collaborative learning, virtual instruction, engagement, virtual engagement
Cooperative or collaborative learning has long been a successful teaching method for use by teachers. We––teachers within the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary classrooms––have seen the benefits of forming intentional small groups with an emphasis on student interaction that leads to students taking ownership of their own learning. This ownership is coupled with increased student engagement levels as well as increased opportunities for teachers to assist students with additional learning needs. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen that teachers and students alike were thrusted into virtual environments where collaboration suffered. All parties were navigating new learning platforms, and while the need for collaboration was still there, the means did not become available at once. After students and teachers found their way navigating the virtual academic waters, we have found the proverbial academic life vests in the form of breakout groups, exterior websites, and an emphasis on cooperative learning to recenter and re-engage them. The post COVID-19 world has brought forth new educational insights that have opened doors for students and teachers alike to thrive in virtual settings that would have gone undiscovered prior to the pandemic.