Cooperative learning occurs when the right procedures, tools and services are at the learner's disposal.
Paulsen, Morten Flate. Cooperative Online Education in Seminar.Net – International Journal of Media, Technology & Lifelong Learning, Vol. 5 – Issue 2 – 2009http://www.seminar.net/index.php/volume-4-issue-2-2008-previousissuesmeny-124/100-cooperative-online-education
This article presents the results from surveys and experiences on NKI’s Cooperative Philosophy for Online Learning. M. Paulsen’s theory of Cooperative Learning argues that virtual environments are the ideal ones to implement successfully cooperative learning on online distance education. The author states the differences between individual, collaborative and cooperative learning and highlights what he calls “the three pillars” of the theory: “voluntary but attractive participation”, “means promoting individual flexibility” and “means promoting affinity to learning community”. Several issues promote cooperative learning: transparency, producing and sharing information through the social software and web 2.0, cooperative evaluation and quality barometers, individual flexibility and affinity to learning communities. Focusing on cooperative evaluation and quality barometers, the article points out some challenges and procedures that may conduce to transparency and quality control. Individual flexibility can be implemented through individual progress plans with follow-up strategies, flexibility in time given by asynchronous communication, a flexible submission system and a teachers’ response barometer. Again web 2.0 and transparency play a central role in creating affinities within learning communities and enable tools and services such as student catalogues, cooperative learner profiles, learning partners, cooperative assignments and cooperative gating.
Mostly based on surveys and examples from NKI Distance Education and with contributions from other institutions and researchers the article presents effective examples of practice within the theory of Cooperative Learning.
NKI experience attests that online education is being transformed by the ultimate tools and services in web and at the same time adds to crucial changes in education itself.
Slaatto, Torhild and Paulsen, Morten Flate. Learning Partner - Opportunities for Cooperation in Distance Learning in www.elearningeuropa.info/directory, 5 Out. 2006http://www.elearningeuropa.info/directory/index.php?page=doc&doc_id=8294&doclng=6
The article reveals NKI Distance Education new online service: learning partners, a Norwegian innovation.
Based on Morten Paulsen’s Theory of Cooperative Freedom, NKI Distance Education philosophy for online students argues that students can stand as mutual resources and not being mutually dependent. Adults choose online education because of its flexibility and freedom but they often want group collaboration and social unity too; NKI Distance Education seeks “to foster benefits from both individual and cooperation” in the learning community.
Two other assumptions from Cooperative Learning are on the basis of the learning partners’ concept: although students are free to study by themselves, NKI Distance Education intensely promotes learning cooperation; flexibility in time, space and pace should be priorities.
Thus, M. Paulsen starts the learning partner service in the Norwegian institution in order to meet students’ needs for improved cooperation, although very aware of privacy issues.
There is already a large number of students in this learning community and those who have experienced it state some of the benefits: “cooperation accelerates learning” and course progression, “newcomers may learn from experienced students”, “senior students learn from helping junior students” and “cooperation is a strong motivational factor”.
Learning partners contribute to prove that cooperation can be possible and effective on online distance education.