Guided, Cooperative Learning and Individual Knowledge Acquisition
This chapter discusses theoretical claims concerning a variety of group–learning procedures and the evidence for the efficacy. Learning is a term with more meanings than there are theorists; however, most would agree on some basic distinctions. In the extreme, the position holds that all "meaningful" conceptual change is self–directs. The opposite extreme from theories of self–directed learning are theories of cognitive development that emphasize other–direction almost exclusively. According to such theories, conceptual development has an essentially social genesis. The term, cooperative learning, is most closely associated with research in educational psychology concerned with alternatives to traditional classroom organizational structure. The support and conflict aspects of cooperative learning settings can be gradually removed from the social plane as they are individualized, internalized, or adopted as independent cognition. It remains to be seen whether children can also benefit from systematic instruction, such as a form of reciprocal teaching, in which modeling and support is given for the acquisition of complex argument rules.